There are new artic norms available!
Anyone who has read here before knows my love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with articulation norms. I’ve posted about them a few times before. They’re arbitrary. They’re misread. And they are misleading.
We all get told in our various programs which “norm” to believe in. Some like the Iowa-Nebraska norms. Others prefer Sander’s norms.
One would think articulation standards would be just that…standard. However, when you look at the norms, you can see some are based on single-word clarity (like we talk in single words), some are based with 50% accuracy where others are based on 100% accuracy. The only thing the norms have in common is 1) they are confusing and 2) they are old.
I was glad to see we may finally have a balancing act and potentially a new set of norms (that will hopefully provide clarity not murkiness to the situation).
Children’s Consonant Acquisition in 27 Languages: A cross-Linguistic Review, by Sharynne McLeod and Kathryn Crowe was posted in the AJSLP 9/2018. This research was a review of existing research to look at the acquisition of consonant phonemes across 27 languages.
Bottom line: “Combining data from 27 languages, most of the world’s consonants were acquired by 5;0 years; months old. By 5;0, children produced at least 93% of consonants correctly. Plosives, nasals, and nonpulmonic consonants (e.g., clicks) were acquired earlier than trills, flaps, fricatives, and affricates. Most labial, pharyngeal, and posterior lingual consonants were acquired earlier than consonants with anterior tongue placement.”
Absolute bottom line: “Children across the world acquire consonants at a young age. Five-year-old children have acquired most consonants within their ambient language; however, individual variability should be considered.”
The authors created a handy graphic.
You can see here that /s/ should be considered as developed by age 4 with /r/ developed by age 5. This flows MUCH more with what I’ve seen in the real world.
By following these norms, we should no longer be waiting until age 8 to work on /r/ or /s/. No more waiting until the front permanent teeth come in…no more waiting until 3rd grade to work on /r/ words.
This makes sense when we consider the impact of early intervention. We KNOW getting services earlier is critical. We know it is less expensive to provide early intervention services than to “wait and see,” so WHY do we wait so darn long on articulation?
By the time most people work on /r/, the kid has had 6 years of bad habit AND they’re are hitting pre-pubescence and all the joy that brings. They are far more aware of being “different” and the social stigma associated with it. So why do we wait? Why do we set these kids up for such heartache? In reality, they should have been seen at least 2 years earlier when it was still “cool” to go to speech and habits weren’t so strong. (okay…I’ll get off my soapbox)
So…what do you think of these new norms? Are these something you think you can use to help kids get help earlier? Would you if you could? I know there are some of you who strongly believe in the wait and see because kids might grow out of sound errors…
Drop me a line and let me know your thoughts. Until then….Adventure on!