My 5 year old son still can't say the R sound

Liz - posted on 03/29/2012 ( 11 moms have responded )

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I really thought he would grow out of it, but lately it has seemed to get worse. A lot of his words sound funny (of course) and it's actually getting kind of frustrating to me. I know he doesn't mean to do it, but what can I do to help him? I know there is speech therapy, but seriously, I don't want to pay someone else a bunch of money when this is his only speech issue.

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Heather - posted on 10/07/2012

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Hi Liz,



I am a speech therapist, so maybe I can help.



5 years old is when the R sound usually comes in, but most therapists will let a kid go until 7 or 8 before starting therapy.



It's true that there could be other sounds that he is missing that you aren't aware of. Only a full speech evaluation would tease those kinds of things out. But there are a few things you can do to help him if you don't want him to see an SLP yet.



Make sure that you are modeling the correct sound. I know this seems silly, but I know some parents who often repeat the words incorrectly back to their children. They think it's cute, or they don't even know they are doing it. My daughter used to say, "Flute loops" for Fruit loops, and I caught myself calling them that, too! I had another parent insist she always modeled correct speech, but then would consistently (unknowingly) mimic her child's speech mistakes when she talked to her child. So just make sure you are consistently modeling the right sound for him.



If you haven't already, gently correct him when he doesn't say the right sound. Ask him to try again, and see if he can at least get the first initial /r/ sound.



Jane Belk Moncure wrote a bunch of "Sound Box" books that are out of print, but are sometimes available at the library. You can look for "My R Sound Box", which is a cute story about a child who puts things that start with R in a box. You can read this book with your son, and both of you can point things out that start with R, which is a fun way to practice R sounds with him.



There are some other exercises you can do to help him, but they are more detailed than this post can allow. I will say, though, that if he doesn't have the R sound mastered by the time he is 7, you should ask the SLP at the school to take a look at him. Even if you are homeschooling, services should be available for you for free.



Hope this helps. Good luck!

Jodi - posted on 03/29/2012

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At this age, this is developmentally quite normal. There are often children who can't say certain sounds right up to the age of 7 or 8. Just practice with him, but don't make him feel bad about it. The majority of kids get it eventually without any need for therapy.

Robin - posted on 03/29/2012

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If he continues to have problems with the "r" sound past the age of eight....at least in Illinois...even if you are homeschooling your child, you can make an appt with your local home public school with the speech therapist to screen him. If he does qualify the school must provide services free of charge for you child. You do not have to accept the services but they are available for you if you want them. It will be your responsibility to bring the child to the school for services.

I am an ELL teacher who works closely with our speech teachers in our school.

Robin - posted on 03/29/2012

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It is developmental a speech therapist won't do anything for the "r" sound until after they reach the time they should be able to say it developmentally....which I believe is 8yrs old. Don't worry about it now mom it is common!

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Rachel - posted on 04/24/2014

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Hi Heather,

My 11 year old student cannot pronounce "r". what is it that i can do to help him. his parents dont seem to find a problem and dont want a speech therapist.

Rachel
India

Liz - posted on 10/09/2012

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Thank you for your response Heather! I will definitely be practicing some of these things with him.

Hornofhawthorn - posted on 03/29/2012

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I couldnt say my Rs up until age 7...finallymydad made me sit onthe top of thecar and say car untiligot it right or icouldnt go play. Worked.

Liz - posted on 03/29/2012

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He isn't in school and won't be going to public school either. I will probably be homeschooling him. I guess basically what I was asking was if anyone (such as someone on here who might be a speech therapist) could tell me if there is anything I can do, rather than take him to someone he doesn't know (and probably wouldn't cooperate with). I am glad to hear, though, that this is more common than I thought. I guess what throws me is that he has a 3 year old brother who speaks perfectly (I know, I know, don't compare kids) and I just thought that he was old enough by now to be able to pronounce it correctly. :)

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/29/2012

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Hold on here "but seriously, I don't want to pay someone else a bunch of money when this is his only speech issue. "



There are things that you would never know to teach that a speech therapist would. Also, you are already getting frustrated, and not accomplishing anything. If he is in school, you can ask the school to have his speech checked. Many schools will offer the speech program for free. My son also has issues with r and some other sounds. Sounds that I didn't even hear he was having trouble with, but the speech therapist did. Do not slack on this. Also, insurance usually will cover it especially if it is good. he will always have to speak, and he will be more confident without mispronunciation. My son is also 5 BTW, turning 6 in may and in Kinder.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/29/2012

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I wouldn't push it. My oldest was 6 or 7 before his Y sounds were yuh. Prior to that, Yellow was Lellow...etc. I asked speech therapists and they said they don't look for problems until the kids are still mispronouncing things at 8 or 9.



My younger also had what i would have called a speech impediment, wasn't up with his peers as far as vocabulary and speech patterns and was told "every child hits speech benchmarks differently. If he's still having this problem when he's 7, we'll look at him again." So...



If you are concerned, have a developmental specialist look at him. I got our screenings done at a local developmental preschool for free.

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