Menu Close



Helping parents worried about the speech of a child who can’t be understood or has difficulty reading or writing.
Are you one of those people who wants to ask: Why? If you re, look around. If you just want to get things done, just contact me.
I try to maximise the experience of success and minimise the sense of failure.

Does my child need help?

You may be worried about your child not seeming to follow the ‘normal’ schedule. But there are many reasons for them making up schedules of their own,
There are three simple questions:
      Are you worried?
      Does your child seem to struggle?
      Does your child avoid conversation?
If the answer to any of these questions is: Yes, some investigation may be useful.

A problem?

You want your child not just to do well in terms of marks for school work, but to be safe, happy, enjoying childhood, making friends.
Problems often go together. Many children who have problems learning to read and write have have previously had problems learning to talk.
Being confident about talking is halfway to being able to learn to read and write.
These problems often run in families.

How can I help you?

The best help that I can give you and your child is by applying the science of speech and language, known as linguistics. Why does your child have the problem which he or she does? And how does this fit into the problems which children have more generally?

Speech and language therapy

Speech, language, therapy, referral, diagnosis, hearing loss, learning to read and learning to write, English writing, the grapheme, graphemes and the meaning of graphemes, dyslexia, dysphagia, speech impairment. speech disorder, speech problems, metalinguistics and metalinguistic awareness, developmental language disorder, expressive language disorder, receptive language disorder, specific language impairment, articulation disorder, speech sound disorder, semantic pragmatic disorder, dysfluency, disfluency, stammering, stuttering, voice disorder, dysphonia, childhood apraxia of speech and verbal dyspraxia, hearing loss, and more.

About Doctor Aubrey Nunes

About Doctor Aubrey Nunes

All my life, I have been fascinated by speech and language…. I remember at school one day our teacher showed us a picture of a cat on a mat…. “C, A, T makes cat”



Should you want to get in touch and discuss anything further, please use the details on this page.



A detailed compilation of references used throughout this site, along with explanations of key phrases and terms.



Treatment is a team effort. Only parents can observe subtle and detailed changes from one day to the next, new interests, expressions, words, or saying things in a more grown up way than previously. My job is to analyse what I can see and what I am told.

Your work

Love and observe
You are special to your child, and your child is special to you.

Cuddles, snuggles
What your child wants most is you.

Time to talk
The magic of conversation

My Work

Possible words therapy
Helping the child say whatever word or words he or she wants to say…. guiding him or her towards an understanding….

If you can see something is wrong with your child, you want to know what it is, and have it explained in terms you can understand.

An instrument
All living humans have the same apparatus for speech … The engineering and the learning are both extraordinary.

S and Z problems
The speech sounds …. broken down into …. smaller, more easily achievable steps.

…. positive experiences are more motivating than negative ones…

Stories are magic.

The child’s mind
… linguistics prompts a focus on what is happening in the mind of the child.

… traditional songs often have a chorus…, for example… E – I – E – I _ O.

Our work

Check list
This checklist covers the whole range of ages from toddlers to teenagers.

Norms – of what?
Normalities and abnormalities

Exceptions to exceptions
Every child is special and unique….  There are patterns in disorder. But there are exceptions to exceptions.

To intervene – or not?
With a child with a developmental impairment there is an obvious question: Will the child just grow out of it?

Confidential notes
I make notes at the end of every session. I like to share these…

Child Talk

Child Talk

What children say is endlessly fascinating.

…. three well-accepted milestones…

Chatter boxes
…. naturally learning one new word from one hour to the next.

Regularities and universals
…. there are regularities and universals… by the way human language has evolved.

Infinite creativity
Language is creative ….

Curiosity and attention
Curiosity drives the child to attend to something…

Meeting of minds
Children say interesting things… This may seem like a quite extraordinary meeting of minds.

Patterns in disorder
Particular words are mispronounced in particular ways at particular stages of development. Why should this be?

Why should it be that developmental problems with speech and / or language are typically complex…?



There are many different ways of looking at the structuring of language. Literature, poetry and prose, once considered the main reason for any interest in language, plainly do not involve science in the modern sense. But the narrative of stories, the rhythm of poetry, and even the logic of creating them, all enter speech and language therapy. We experience language in conversation. There are conventions about taking turns to talk, These conventions are sometimes regarded as rules. But the rules of conversation, if this is what they are, are quite different from those which make PSKETTI for spaghetti not a possible word of English.


Cats, dogs, people, and compositionality
What makes human language different from any non-human system of communication is that it is ‘compositional’…

Your last word
Although all languages have complexities, the complexities vary from one language to another. And these variations have to be learnt.

Plain English
I try to keep my use of technical terms to a minimum….

Ax, ex, ics, and ologies

Linguistics, as the scientific study of language is commonly divided into various areas…Here I just thumbnail some ideas.

The field

The meaning of words in phrases and sentences

Linguistics as a branch of biology

Language in circumstances

Putting words into sentences

Building words

The sounds of speech or ‘phonemes’

The organisation of the speech sounds as a system

Combining the speech sounds

Linguistics by numbers

…. sound and meaning…. the conscious recognition of this relation.

The architecture
Talking and understanding are not just about words but about the structures into which the words go.

Lexicon / vocabulary
Words with meanings

Change and variation
All languages change.

Nuts & Bolts

….  levels of structure – as with the germination of seeds, roots, and shoots.

…. the smallest pulses in the sound structure of speech.

The word, word, is problematic….

Sounds or letters?
Speech sounds or ‘phonemes’ as the smallest units keeping ‘words’ apart?… But … there are actually smaller units of difference, known as ‘features’.

Smallest elements of meaning

Marked, unmarked, and derived structure

Minimising the storage

such as those which distinguish ‘toe’ from ‘doe’ by just a variation … known as ‘voicing’

…. pitch, length and loudness to create rhythms

… a ‘sing song’ voice

Ways of looking

A learnability space
What the learner HAS to take account of

One human language
The underlying commonality across languages

Two ways of characterising incompetence in speech

Possible words
Posible and impossible complexities

Teaching and learning
A word missing in English

A uniqueness
…. What makes language special is that it is ‘compositional’

Change and variation
Speech and language do not stand still

And the faculty of language



Even though some children make the same sorts of mistakes, no two children, not even identical twins, make exactly the same combinations of mistakes.

The child who opened the door to Possible Words Therapy

Mostly incomprehensible at four and a half

A self-referral by an uncommonly knowing six-year-old

A sixteen year old’s fear of ridicule at work as an adult



Most children with problem learning to read and write previously had or still have a problem with speech and language, suggesting that there may be an underlying commonality.

Genius and bureaucracy

Learning to read and write
The alphabet is mostly a set of arbitrary, abstract representations.

The alphabet
Over more than 5,000 years by at least 8 individuals

Four clever letters
Linking shapes and sounds

The tragedy of English spelling
A story of missed opportunity

What would Shakespeare have said?


The English language
Continual change – over centuries and human life times

A sound inventory
Stops, nasals, fricatives, affricates, liquids, and glides, with a richly-complex and unstable vowel system

The graphemes
Of written English – a quart in a pint pot

Being dyslexic




In work with children there is a long tradition of trying to make this enjoyable rather than painful. There is also an emerging idea that it is necessary to take account of the process by which speech and language evolved.

Modesty and caution

Even if ideas about language can never be proved, it is still worth trying


What used to be known as transformational generative grammar and is now known as Biolinguistics

For your child

Child friendly
500 years of taking cues from children

Clinical linguistics
Questions, answers, and a paradox


A first language
Out of Africa

A logical problem
In the acquisition of language

Master class
Of subtle analysis

Speech, language and biology

The Sound Pattern of English
A benchmark of precision


From a link in the footer

Order, disorder and evolution
The force of evidence from modern language

Time scales
From factions of a second to hundreds of thousands of years

Before the beginning
Laying the foundations – five precursor steps

The natural process
Expectations, minds, schedules

The largest experiment in history

Nine critical advances

Going beyond Nunes (2002)


Physical approaches
And their limits – two opposite scepticisms

Reconciling two, seemingly contradictory traditions

Myths and burials

A speculation about autism
A disorder with respect to the linguistic analysis of the here and now?

A gaping hole

Speech and Language UK report
1.7 million children in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are behind in talking and understanding.

Do you have an enquiry?