It’s normal for preschoolers to mispronounce words and make grammatical errors. But by first grade, your child should be speaking clearly. If she is still struggling to make herself understood, she may need extra help. Don’t hesitate to call her teacher if you’re worried about your child’s speech.
Early warning signs of a speech problem
According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, speech therapists, and early education specialists, your child may have a speech problem if she:
- Gets frustrated because nobody understands her
- Has to repeat herself many times before you understand her
- Has trouble talking to her peers and making friends
- Is reluctant to talk in class because she feels embarrassed and/or frustrated
- Doesn’t like to tell stories
- Has real difficulty producing a sound or word, and frequently grimaces when she tries to make that sound
- Has a smaller vocabulary than other children her age
- Uses sounds or words out of sequence (for example, “home, I ran”)
If your child is having trouble speaking, it doesn’t necessarily mean she has a learning disability. In fact, she may have a hearing problem. That’s why it’s important to call her teacher if you have concerns. She may recommend other activities, which can range from giving your child more speaking practice at home to talking to a learning specialist.