When a Speech and Language Therapist talks about 'speech', they mean the sounds that words are made up of (not the words themselves). A child with speech difficulties may say "tat" instead of "cat". A child with language difficulties might not even have a word for cat. Children can have both speech AND language difficulties. This series is about speech errors.
Kids don't just start talking perfectly. Speech takes a while to develop and it's normal for some sounds to be tricky and some familiar learning patterns to be present. Sometimes when a child says a word not quite right, it's not because they can't say the individual sound (like an /S/) it's because they are using a pattern of sound errors to make things easier to say. These are called PHONOLOGICAL PROCESSES. For example, August says "aster" instead of "disaster". It's not because he can't say /d/, it's because he's dropping the weakest syllable (see my recent post on weak syllable deletion). Weak syllable deletion is a phonological process, just like final consonant deletion.
WHAT IS FINAL CONSONANT DELETION?
It's a phonological process where children drop the last consonant sound. It makes the word sound unfinished. It doesn't happen because they can't say the sound at the end, it's because their brains haven't learned to to move their mouthes to finish the word. All children use 'final consonant deletion' as they learn to talk,. E.g. Saying "da" before "dad".
WHEN WILL MY CHILD GROW OUT OF IT?
If your little one started talking around age 1, this phonological process will likely disappear before age 3.
WHAT IF MY OLDER CHILD STILL DOES THIS?
It's important you don't correct your child or make them feel self conscious. Just say their word back to them and accentuate the last sound. You can kindly talk about what you're doing with your mouth too, e.g. "My lips closed at the end of that word! Watch: Up! Up! My lips made a /p/ sound at the end".
Don't be afraid to reach out to your child's teachers to talk about your concerns too.
Did you notice your child using final consonant deletion?