Phonological processes are patterns of sound errors that children make as they develop expressive language skills. They’re used by children to simplify adult speech. It’s considered typical for children to use phonological processes in their speech at certain ages.
Certain sounds are more difficult to say, and require more time for the child to be able to coordinate oral motor movements to produce. As a child naturally gains more understanding of how to produce speech sounds, the use of these simplification processes typically resolves.
If the child has surpassed a certain age and is continuing to use phonological processes, the intelligibility of their speech can be reduced. At that time, the child might benefit from working on eliminating these processes during speech therapy sessions.
Download our phonological processes chart for definitions, examples, and the approximate age children are expected to resolve (according to norms stated by ASHA).