Phonological Processes: What is Final Consonant Deletion?

[In this series, we explore the major phonological processes that children use in speech, as well as strategies for targeting them at home]

What are Phonological Processes?

A phonological process is a pattern that young children adapt to simplify adult speech sounds. All children use these processes at some point in time while their speech and language skills are still developing because they don’t have to ability to coordinate the articulators -- lips, tongue, teeth, etc. -- for clear, “adult-like” speech. Due to this developmental process, children will simplify words in predictable ways until they develop the skills required to produce them clearly. A familiar example of this might be a 2-year-old child saying “wa-wa” for “water” or “nana” for “banana”.

Final Consonant Deletion

Today, we will take a look at final consonant deletion. This phonological process is a form of omission, where a child will produce a word and omit the final sound in a word. If you’ve ever heard a child say “ca” for “cat” or “pho” for “phone”, then you’ve probably heard an example of final consonant deletion in conversation.

Similar to other phonological processes, final consonant deletion can be considered typical until a certain age range. After the age of 4, however, this process is considered a phonological disorder.

During therapy, it’s typical to target this error by using a “minimal pairs” approach. In this strategy, a child says two words that differ by one sound, typically the target sound. In a student with final consonant deletion, these words could look like “BEE” and “BEAK” that differ with the presence or absence of a final consonant. By repeating sets of minimal pairs words, children can learn to differentiate words with and without final consonants.

Have more questions about final consonant deletion or other phonological processes? Reach out to a Sidekick therapist or one of our offices today.

Elizabeth Ward, M.S., CF-SLP


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