I often have people call me in for screens and consults. This means they want me to come to their house, chat with the parents and their kid, and decide if they should proceed with a full evaluation. When I get to the home, I always kick things off by asking “What do you think the problem is?” Every so often I hear something like this: “He can’t say the “k” sound at the end of “duck” or “take” but he can say “kick” and “cake.” Nope, your child does not think some /k/ sounds are more important than others. This is an error process called “assimilation.”
Assimilation is not just a fancy word I use on occasion to make people think I am smart. It is a real thing. It is a speech error lots and lots of kiddos make. Even typically developing kiddos make it! Whoa, right?!
What is assimilation? Hold on to your hats people! What is more exciting than speech errors? Assimilation is the process of making one part of a word like another. In example….when a kid says “gog” for “dog” or “dut” for “duck.” That is assimilation. Their little mouth just gets in one position and stays there for the whole word.
Hank and Gus wear “gold” medals to celebrate the Olympics. Not “dold.”
Some kiddos may produce assimilation as they are learning speech. I do not get terribly concerned about the production of assimilation until a little one is around 3 years of age. (Side note…I am not concerned when kids say “tat” for “cat” or “torn” for “corn.” I am concerned when your child says “Tut the kook on the tadle” for “Put the book on the table.” Call me if this is happening.)
Are you wondering if your kiddo is using assimilation versus an errored sound? Check out the FREE assimilation map I made just for you! I’m cool like that.
Concerned that your kiddo is using assimilation. Call me. Or email me. Concerned they have speech errors? Let’s fix that too.
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I left this “cat,” not “tat,” puppet at a patient’s house last week. His mom texted to tell me and I asked her to take good care of it until I returned. This is what followed. They named her Peppa. Have I ever mentioned how much I love the families I work with? This “tat” is solid “dold.”