When the Child is Using Phonological Processes on Later-Developing Sounds

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When evaluating a child for a speech disorder, if a child of 4 is using cluster reduction on blends that contain /l/ and /r/ (b-/br, f-/fl), or using deaffraction (e.g., sh/ch) is it considered a disorder since cluster reduction and deaffrication are eliminated at approximately age 4?

I ask because /l/ and /r/ are later developing sounds? GFTA its as 85% children attain /l/ and ‘ch’ at 5 and /r/ at 5-6.

My Thoughts:

For the Blends: 

  • Cluster reduction should be gone by 4 but that doesn’t mean the child needs to be able to say all of the sounds correctly in those clusters.  For example, it would be age-appropriate for a 4-year-old to say “fwip” for “flip” but not “fip” or “wip”.

For the Affricates: 

  • I guess this is saying that it would still be age appropriate to have a different error on an affricate as long as it’s not replacing it with a continuant or stop, but I don’t know what that would be so I don’t usually work on these until they’re older.

Source: https://www.linguisystems.com/pdf/Milestonesguide.pdf