Phonology: Final Consonant Deletion

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On Tuesday, we shared one of our favorite products, “Match the Picture: Final Consonants.” You may be wondering why kids need help with final consonants because when you hear the occupation “speech therapy,” you most often think of lisps, impediments, and stutters. Newsflash, it’s so much more than that!

If you haven’t already checked out our Speech Sound Disorders blog, head over to learn more about what exactly a speech sound disorder entails.

Important Terminology

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  1. Speech Sound Disorder: Umbrella term for errors related to speech production.
  2. Articulation Disorder: Errors producing certain sounds (e.g., a lisp)
  3. Phonological Disorder: A pattern of errors that affect more than one sound.

Phonological Delay/Disorder

A phonological disorder, on the other hand, focuses on a pattern of errors (see phonological processes chart). Some of the most common phonological error patterns include fronting, stopping, and final consonant deletion. These patterns affect more than one sound. While it seems cut and dry, it can be difficult to differentiate between articulation disorders and phonological disorders. This is where the umbrella term “speech sound disorders” comes in [1].

Final consonant deletion

FCD falls into the phonological delay/disorder category. FCD is when a child leaves off the final sound in a word. For example: “Bo” for “boat.” FCD is a typical phonological process until about 3 years old. If your child still omits the final sound in words after age 3, it’s best to meet with a speech-language pathologist to determine whether they need speech therapy.

What can parents do to help?

First, download our free parent handout for Final Consonant Deletion below. You will find important definitions, advice on what to do if you’re child is displaying final consonant deletion past 3 years old, and a quick activity to work on final consonant deletion at home.

One of the best ways to target final consonant deletion is through use of minimal pairs. Minimal pairs are words that only differ by one sound. For example [1]:

  • Baa (like a sheep noise…but only if you say “baa” the same way you say “bag”)/bag/bat/bad/bass/bath/back
  • “R”/”arm” (technically /ar/ is a rhotic vowel, though if the child is having trouble with /r/, skip this one)
  • Bee/beak/beet/beam/beast/
  • Bye/bike/bite
  • Bow/boat/bone
  • Boo/boot/boom
  • “K”/cake/cape/Kate/case/cane
  • Cow/couch/count/cows
  • Dry/drive
  • Four/fork/fort/form/force
  • Key/keys/keep
  • Lie/light/life/lime
  • No/nose/nope/gnome/note
  • Tie/time/ties
  • Tree/treat
  • Purr/purse
  • Go/goat
  • Me/meat
  • My/mice/might/mine
  • You/use
  • Two/toot/tune
  • We/week/wheel/wheat/weep
  • Tea/tease/teen
  • Boy/boys
  • “Q”/cute
  • Toe/toast/toad/tone/toes
  • Shoe/shoot/shoes
  • “C”/seem/seed/seat
  • Play/plane/plate
  • Sew/soap/soak

Go through this list to determine which pairs are easiest for your child. Next, create picture cards for 3 minimal pairs. Put your first pair on the table in front of you. Ask your child to close their eyes while you slip a small token underneath one of the pictures. Tell your child to guess where they think the token is hidden by saying the word. If they make an error, repeat the error and model the correct pronunciation.

While it’s helpful to work on final consonant deletion at home, be aware that early intervention by professionals leads to the best generalization to everyday speech. If your child is still omitting the ends of words after 3 years old, head to our website for a free 20-minute consultation to determine your child’s needs and what we can do to help!

Additional resources:

  1. Fun Early Learning: Final Consonant Deletion
  2. The 3 do’s of treating final consonant deletion