Infant dyslalia: what does it consist of?

It is normal in the process of learning to speak that the child mispronounces some sounds. But if it happens beyond four years, it will be time to pay attention. We speak then of dislalia.

Last update: July 28, 2021

Infant dyslalia is normal within the child's growth stages when he is learning to speak. Around the year he babbles and both understands what they say to him, speaks and has a vocabulary of more than fifty words that grows incessantly. Around three he talks and interacts with extraordinary fluency and makes himself understood with great ease.

But nevertheless, it is very likely that not all phonemes are pronounced clearly. Especially the "r" or those known as symphons, which are those that are made up of two consonants in a row, such as "pl" or "dr". The complexity of what the child is learning and his relationship with the world would amaze us, but all of this flows naturally.

If there are no physical or organic problems – this is the case of dysglossia – that affect the speech system and require some intervention, the articulatory problems will gradually disappear. If not, it is important to detect dyslalia early. Appropriate treatment can fix it and prevent it from lasting, affecting your school life and your relationship with your classmates.

What is infantile dyslalia?

Childhood dyslalia is usually normal when the child learns to speak.

Dyslalia is a disorder in the articulation and production of phonemes. We observe it when there is a change, a distortion, a replacement or an absence of sounds when speaking. It can be simple when you do not pronounce one or a group of sounds well, or complex when it affects several groups of sounds.

It is common in children up to the age of sevenThis is while the speech capacity matures. It is not to worry but to follow up. More than a bad pronunciation per se, Dyslalia is part of the intense process of learning the mother tongue and its articulatory mechanisms.

It is obvious that children do not learn to speak fluently all at once and, like everyone else, they rehearse and err. It is important and decisive in this stage that the parents articulate and pronounce well some phonemes, so that the child can observe and replicate.

In this sense, talking childish parental that exaggerates the pronunciation and raises the tone in some words can reach contribute to learning of phonemes by the child.

Types of childhood dyslalia

The difficulty to produce certain sounds is manifested with substitution, distortion, omission or insertion. That is, if you change one sound for another, or trying to produce a sound you will not succeed.

Also, if you omit a phoneme within a word, or insert or add one as led by the internal rhythm of the word, as when you want to say plate and say pa-la-to. All these phenomena account for the presence of dyslalia, which is classified as:

Physiological or evolutionary

Also called "false dyslalia." It is caused by an incipient development of the speech and articulatory system and disappears with the passage of time, but not always without professional help.


This dyslalia it manifests itself beyond four years. It shows motor problems, but not because of organic damage. It may be due to little fine motor skills at the peripheral level, or because there has not been enough linguistic and auditory stimulation, which limits the child to imitate sounds.

In some cases the existence of trauma appears. In each of these situations, the intervention of the speech therapist is essential and the treatment can be prolonged.


When it occurs because of the immaturity of the language or more exactly of the organs in charge of producing the articulation. This it is considered a normal phase and remits with time; that is, with the development of the child.


This dyslalia has a clear and specific origin in the child's hearing capacity. If you don't hear or hear well, you will have trouble articulating sounds. Hearing loss prevents perfect language acquisitionLater, it will make reading and writing difficult and may even cause affective problems.


When there is an articulatory mechanical deficit as a bad configuration of the organs that make the production of sounds possible. East congenital or acquired structural damage hinders joint movement and causes speech pathologies.

Causes of infantile dyslalia

When it comes to dyslalia, lesions at the brain level are not included. Rather, it appears due to psychological, environmental or family-related factors. It is also recorded due to lack of listening comprehension or discrimination, or simply poor motor skills.

Right off the bat we shouldn't talk about a disorder because it is normal for there to be articulatory difficulties before the age of four. From this age it would merit a more careful observation and in case of noticing any seriousness, consultation with a speech therapist is recommended. Attended in time, it will not leave any sequelae.

How is childhood dyslalia diagnosed?

The pediatrician will evaluate multiple factors when making the diagnosis of dyslalia.

As parents and relatives detect dyslalia easily and it is associated with maturity, it is common to believe that it will disappear without professional intervention. This is a mistake. From the age of four, an evaluation that allows to identify the type of dyslalia and act accordingly does not hurt.

However, as the causes are multiple, it is difficult to have a general diagnosis. However, a study of the family is essential, or anamnesis, which will surely reveal factors that may be present in the maturation of the child.

Later, A pronunciation test must be practiced that allows the precise location of the phonemes. By locating a particular sound, the child will be instructed to repeat it in different situations. Objects whose names contain the phoneme may be presented to him and, finally, he will be invited to speak spontaneously.

How is the treatment for childhood dyslalia?

Treatment consists of stimulating the child's ability to produce sounds by testing vowels and consonants. In the dynamics, an attempt will be made to identify and differentiate them. Too coordination of lip and tongue movements will be stimulated, and difficult sounds will be emphasized.

Then you have to ensure that the child makes the sounds within syllables until the automation of the muscle pattern involved in the articulation is achieved. Finally, move on to whole words, through songs, word games, and fluent conversation to target the phonemes identified as problematic.

Can childhood dyslalia be prevented?

While the causes of dyslalia can be multiple, we cannot conclude that it can be prevented. Diagnose in time yes. And become aware that although it can disappear alone, after four years it should attract the attention of parents and teachers.

Before diagnosis, the doctor may try verify a psychomotor retardation, evidenced in poor muscle tone in the jaw, tongue and speech apparatus.

As background, sucking on fingers and pacifiers, frequent otitis and breathing through the mouth as risk factors in the development of permanent skeletal malformations. This would consequently make it difficult to position the tongue and to arrange the teeth at certain points of articulation.

In childhood dyslalia the key is the family

The family is the child's natural environment and with it and from it he learns to speak. The phonemes that the child repeats are first heard from their relatives. Hence the importance of good pronunciation and in some cases the emphasis on diction.

Sound plates, songs and strings are part of the treatment of childhood dyslalia. Music, due to its inherent playful nature, will be very useful to achieve fun pronunciation exercises that are translated into memory and articulatory habits.

The syllabic conscience works with rhymes, songs and onomatopoeias. Beyond the meaning of the words, what matters is the rhythm. As it is the body that needs to learn to speak, it will do better playing, while exercising oral-facial motor skills.