a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
i
j
k
l
m
n
o
p
r
s
t
u
v
w
x














Speech Impediments

Some young kids speak happily and often, but because of a twist of the tongue they may be unable to pronounce certain words or sounds correctly. For example, Jimmy says “lellow” instead of “yellow.” This is a normal part of speech development, and these little variations and idiosyncrasies can last until a child is five or six. They almost always disappear on their own. These twists have less to do with the anatomy of his tongue or palate than with the way he moves his tongue. But don’t spend hours analyzing how he moves it, because that’s the only way he’ll do it for now. If Jimmy has one of these little tongue twists, don’t correct the mispronunciation, because he will become more self-conscious. Just speak clearly. Hearing the correct sounds will help him reproduce them when he is more apt. For the same reason, speech therapy won’t help, at least not yet.

When Jimmy starts going to school, he’ll rapidly learn correct pronunciation from a community of peers. His strongest incentive to enunciate correctly will come when his new best friend turns to him and says, “Huh?” Just being in school with other kids may help him overcome this minor impairment. If Jimmy’s pronunciation problems don’t clear up, you can consider speech therapy after a year or two of elementary school (or before, if he exhibits mounting frustration).