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Phonological Process: Stopping

phonological process stoppingPhonological Process: Stopping


Phonological processes are patterns of errors used by children when attempting to produce adult-like speech.  Most children demonstrate some of these processes when acquiring language.  While these error patterns are common and often times typical, if they persist past a certain age they become atypical.  Stopping is a common phonological process.

What is backing: 

Stopping, a type of substitution error, occurs when children substitute a stop consonant such as “t, d, p, b, k” or “g” for fricative or affricate sounds “s, z, sh, f, v, j, ch” or “th”.  A child might say “tun” instead of “sun” or “dump” instead of “jump”.  While stopping is a common speech error, its effects tend to drastically reduce a child’s speech intelligibility.  Some children demonstrate stopping on only one or two consonants while others use the phonological process across many or all fricative and affricate sounds.

A student I worked with came in on a Monday and was very excited to tell me about what he had done over the weekend.  As an extreme “stopper”, he didn’t often volunteer to speak in class or with his peers so it was great that he felt comfortable in the speech room. He told me that he had gone “diting” and it was really “dun”.  After repeating himself over ten times, his speech pathologist (me) finally realized that he had been on a fun fishing trip!

Should I be concerned if my child is stopping?

As with most phonological processes, stopping is very common and is present in many young children’s speech.  Usually this process corrects itself as the child’s speech and language skills become more mature.  In typical development stopping is typically eliminated between 3-5 years of age depending on which sounds are being substituted.

Stopping Example Gone by approximately
Stopping of /f/ “tun”/fun or 3;0
Stopping of /s/ “dip”/sip 3;0
Stopping of /z/ “dipper”/zipper 3;6
Stopping of /v/ “bacum”/vacuum 3;6
Stopping of “sh” “dip”/ship 4;6
Stopping of “j” “dim”/gym 4;6
Stopping of “ch” “tew”/chew 4;6
Stopping of “th” “tum”/thumb 5;0

The chart above is meant to be a guide to assist in determining if your child’s stopping pattern is age appropriate or not. If your child is continuing to demonstrate the phonological process of stopping beyond the specified ages it is highly recommended that you contact a speech-language pathologist.

If you have concerns with your child’s speech and language skills please contact Samantha at Chicago Speech and More by calling (847) 774-0582 or using the contact us form on the website.


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