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Speech Intelligibility Norms


⠀ “I can’t understand what my child is saying all of the time. Should I be concerned?” This is a question we get ALL the time! This graphic will help!⠀

Speech intelligibility, or how often you (or strangers) understand your child’s speech, is often referred to as a percentage. ⠀

Example – Sara’s speech intelligibility with familiar listeners is 50%. This means that people who know Sara pretty well (parents, or maybe grandparents and older siblings, etc.) can understand Sara about 50% of the time.⠀

It is important to remember that a child’s speech intelligibility to a parent is usually much different than to a stranger (unfamiliar listener)! You know them better than anyone else – which means you typically understand them better. ⠀



This photo gives a guide to how intelligible your little one should be to YOU, the parent, between 18 to 36 months. (The bottom of the graphic shows about how intelligible they should be to unfamiliar listeners). ⠀

Remember that every child is different, and this is AROUND where your child should be. If you are ever concerned about your child’s speech sound development or speech intelligibility, an evaluation from a Speech Therapist will quickly tell you if your child is ‘on track’!⠀

Also important to note: “intelligible” doesn’t mean “perfect”! ⠀

My little Lila is 2.5 years old and I interpret for her ALL the time! I understand almost 100% of her speech but others (unfamiliar listeners) probably understand more like 50-75% of the time. Which is totally normal! ⠀
Do you interpret for your little one??? ⠀

Share this info with your friends!!

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