My 12-year-old is unable to say her r's right and pronounces them like w's. If the r comes at the end of the word, like in "here" or "bar," she says it like an l. And when she says r by itself, it sounds like she's saying o.
We admittedly have never gotten her speech therapy -- we thought she would just grow out of it. Her English teacher, however, took notice and supposedly set up a meeting between her and the school's speech therapists, but they never got to her. (They were supposed to contact us for permission; they never did.)
Besides that, she is quite bright. She gets straight A's and reads at a 12th grade level.
Is this something that can simply be solved with speech therapy, or is it indicative of a bigger issue?
In addition, I have two other daughters (one is 18; the other 9), neither of which have this issue.
I have to preface this by saying that I am NOT a speech therapist. But my son had problems with his speech, especially his "r"s when he was in elementary school. I got him speech therapy and he "graduated" from it just fine. He has perfect speech now. He had trouble enunciating words when he was in preschool but I chose to wait until elementary for services in hopes he would grow out of them. He didn't.
If I were you, your daughter is old enough to talk to her about it. I would ask how she feels about it and if she would like to receive speech services to help her. I would also contact the school to make sure you stay in the loop about things. I don't think she can receive speech services without parental permission.
Married, part time work from home mom to DS (13 and homeschooling), DD1 (11) and DD2 (9) and a giant dopey newfoundland, a crazy border collie mix, 3 black cats and a cute rat.
Speech therapy can help. We had our (then) 8 year old in speech therapy for a lisp. I couldn't hear the lisp, but my partner and her teachers could. Insurance covered all but the copay. Within just a few lessons she was able to correct it. A few months after that the lisp was mostly gone.
Me. With 1 spouse, 4 kids, 16 chickens, 74 matchbox cars, 968,562+ legos, a dishwasher waiting to be emptied, a washing machine waiting to be filled and a lost cup of tea in the house.
Speech therapy can help. At this age though, it is going to be about the therapist teaching her the correct way to say r's and then your DD has to self correct. If she is unwillingly to self correct because it is so ingrained after all these years, then there is a limit to what speech therapy can do. School based speech therapy can be difficult to access and it may be unlikely that she will qualify just on R's at her age. Private speech might be the only option.
All of my kids (4) have had difficulty with R's. DD1 was able to correct some with the help of a therapist but frankly, she was just too old by the time we started and we never could get the carry over to happen. People can understand her but they think she has an accent and always ask where she is from! DD2 is only 7 but she has been in speech therapy for years and years. She is unable to self correct her R's, she CAN model them perfectly in therapy but just can not transfer that over to real conversation despite working and working on it. It's to the point where we've been stuck in this place for over a year now and so instead of continuing to pay 75 an hour for therapy, we are taking a break for a few months and then will start again.
Please seek some speech therapy. I'm not a therapists and I can't tell you how much it'll help at this age but it's worth a try. I have a bright and capable 24-year-old niece whose parents would never follow through with therapy. The extended family offered to pay for private therapy. We offered to drive her there every week. The school offered free onsite therapy but the parents wouldn't give permission. They felt she would outgrow it which is an attitude I understand at 3 or 4 but it gets pretty clear in elementary who is outgrowing their issues and who isn't. It's a long story but I'll just say that my niece has always been insecure about her voice and still struggles with people taking her seriously as a the capable woman she is because she still sounds like a toddler. She is quite angry with her parents for not making an attempt to help her correct it. Who knows if therapy would have made any difference but the action of trying can go a long way in helping a kid cope with any sort of affliction. I know, I'm painting an extreme case and I'm not trying to be a fear-monger in the least. I just encourage you to take a real look into it. Sometimes just recognizing the issue and her knowing she's not the only one with it can improve self-esteem.
School services can be tricky. Our district services start at age 3 but they are pretty much done by 5th grade. It's worth looking into but you might have to push. Anytime a kid needs special services at school they need a vocal advocate to keep the ball rolling. I'd look at your insurance too to see if any coverage is offered even short term.