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What to With Problems Pronouncing 'Sh' and 'Ch'?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 20 Jul 2020 | comments*Discuss
Mispronunciation Pronunciation Speech


My 5 year old grandson doesn't seem to be able to pronounce 'sh' or 'ch' although he can say 's' and every other sound.

Will this come with time? Is there anything we can do to help him?
(Mrs Margaret Pickering, 15 October 2008)


By age five children are usually able to pronounce the sounds “sh” and “ch” so the fact that your grandson is not able to pronounce these two sounds does indicate a slight speech problem. However, all children develop at different rates so it may be that these are simply the last sounds your grandson ultimately masters.

If your grandson’s pronunciation problems are frustrating his oral communication, making it difficult for others to understand him or cause others to be amused by him (or make fun of him) then it may be that he would benefit from speech therapy. Taking him to see his GP and getting a referral to an experienced speech and language therapist would be the first step in getting him professional speech help. It may be that he could be referred by his school as well. Once referred, a therapist would be able to observe him, test him and ultimately diagnose any speech impediment or disorder. If a diagnosis is made then the therapist would also be able to devise a treatment plan for him.

Before enlisting professional help, however, there is much that can be done to help your grandson practice these sounds on a daily basis. Relatives, carers and teachers can all gently correct your grandson when he mispronounces these sounds and help him to make the correct sounds. This should not be done in a mocking or degrading way, nor should others laugh at his pronunciations or write them off as a cute childhood affliction. If others ignore the problem then it can not be addressed, and if others seem to encourage it with what might seem like positive responses then your grandson may even think he should continue with his original pronunciations.

Sometimes children benefit from daily practice of a particular sound in addition to having their pronunciation corrected in their everyday speech. It may be that your grandson would benefit from some time dedicated to these sounds. Daily practice of these sounds through reciting nursery rhymes, singing silly songs or otherwise having fun and playing games with language may be all it takes for your grandson to work past his slight speech problem.

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My daughter is ten and all of a sudden she has stared changing the way she pronounces t at the end of a word it comes out like sh
Tinylady - 20-Jul-20 @ 2:53 PM
Im 17 years old and I had speech from the age to 2-15 and the problems I had with the letters CH SH Hand I still have problems now and I’m no longer taking speech because my school is terrible but I feel like the problem is either I have an open bite but I have braces now or also that I have a large tongue but I do know the method on how to pronounce CH SH but it’s so hard because I feel like it still sounds weird and I have extra saliva producing whenever I talk ornot talk. And the doctor think it’s because of my braces but it’s been going on for a very long time but I just started noticing.
Vanni - 18-Feb-20 @ 3:25 AM
Hi im now 17 and i have always had problems pronouncing “ch” and “g” and i dont know if this is a lisp? A speech problem or something any ideas?
Em - 30-Oct-19 @ 5:41 PM
@Shisha - have you been to the docs? Your doctor will be able to tell you what is causing this.
Poots - 7-Sep-17 @ 4:18 PM
Hi, my son is 10 years old now and since he changed his front teeth a few years back, I started noticing that we he talks the letter "sh" sounds as if his mouth is full of water. not sure if this is the right description but definitely he cant pronounce it like a perfect "sh" neither as a sound nor in a word. It is worth it to mention that he has no any other difficulties in any other letters. now a days this issue is getting to be frustrating as he is not showing any progress unless I ask him to dry his mouth by swallowing any saliva then it gets out properly and this cant be achieved all the time. I beg you to advise me what to do as his school mates started to comment on this to him. Thank you very much.
Shisha - 7-Sep-17 @ 10:20 AM
Your son could be processing things way to quick like when he Is writing he is already a couple words ahead even when speaking he will be ahead in his mind meaning his mouth and hands are unable to possess the data that is going 9n way to quick my cousin stutters but he isn't stuttering as frequent
Tgfa - 2-Jul-17 @ 12:01 AM
My son is having problems with his speech, his writing and his general learning. He is constantly mistaking TH words for L or D. He is stuttering. His writing is atrocious and is making back to front letters and numbers. As he is no quite 7 years old...no-one seems to want to help. He will be entering year 3 in September and is still at the year 1 stage. His hearing tests are fine and he has been discharged from the hearing assessment side of things, even though he was diagnosed with glue ear at 4yrs old. He had speech therapy when he was 2 until 4 and got discharged from that. I had parents evening last week and was appalled with his spelling and handwriting. He's still says "dis" instead of this. "dere" instead of there. Lan instead of than. I am at the end of my tether. 5 years this has been going on for. I don't know what to do anymore.
Deby - 5-Apr-11 @ 1:01 PM
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