The sounds K and G are both made when the back of the tongue raises up to meet the top of your mouth, temporarily stopping all airflow. These sounds are usually mastered by 3.5 years of age.
1. I often use a tongue depressor or Popsicle stick to touch the back of a client’s tongue and the roof of their mouth where both meet during the K and G. If you try this with your child, do this carefully as to not elicit the gag reflex.
2. Have your child lay down or lay their head back. By doing so, the back of their tongue is in a better position to touch the roof of the mouth.
Teaching the /Y/ sound may seem difficult because you can’t visually show a child where the sound is produced. The /Y/ sound typically emerges in both boys and girls at 2.5 years old. It should be mastered in girls by age 4 and in boys by age 5. Below are some tips for assisting your child in appropriately producing the sound.
I often like to ask my students to produce two sounds together in order to feel where the /Y/ sound is made (back of the throat). First I ask to produce the letter E (eeeeee). Then I ask the child to produce “ahhhh.” If you quickly interchange these two sounds, you start to produce the /Y/ sound. Another thing that I like to do is have my clients to lightly touch their throats to assist them in understanding where the sound is made.
You may not have given much thought to it, but the /w/ sound involves shaping both lips into a circle. For some children, this may be a hard sound to articulate. According to our speech/sound charts, the /w/ is a sound that should be mastered by age 3.
Here are some tips if your child has trouble forming their lips into a circle to produce the sound:
1. Have your child smile then pucker their lips back and forth. By doing so, your child can hopefully feel the difference in their mouth movements and get a better idea of producing the sound appropriately.
2. A straw is a great tool in assisting children with this sound. Have your child place their mouth over a straw. Once their lips are wrapped around the straw, slide it out and have them look at the way their lips are positioned.
3. Bubbles are a great motivator! Have your child blow bubbles to form their lips into a circle. Have them voice the sound with their lips rounded before blowing the bubbles.
Have some other ideas? Have questions? Share with us on Speechbop!
Had an interesting session with a client who had difficulty producing the /L/ sound today. I wanted to share some techniques for both parents and speech pathologists to assist in producing this sound at home or in your own speech sessions!
There are two things that must be done in order to appropriately produce the /L/:
1. The tongue must touch the alveolar ridge (see below for details).
2. Lateral emission: When air flows out the sides of the tongue.
Okay, lets get started! The area behind your top front teeth is called the alveolar ridge. In order to produce the /L/ sound, one must place their tongue on the alveolar ridge. How can you get your child to identify the alveolar ridge without putting hands in his mouth? There are several techniques that I have tried. Don’t give up if one of these techniques don’t work. Every child is different and because of this, it may take a few tries in order for it to work. Here are a few ideas that I like to try with my clients:
1. Toothette: A toothette is an oral motor tool that can be used to gently touch the alveolar ridge on your child/client. These tools come individually wrapped to ensure sterilization and can simply be thrown out after a session. To increase sensory awareness, Toothettes come in flavors such as mint. You can find them at Medexsupply.com
2. Oral vibrator: An oral vibrator can be used with children who have sensory concerns. These children may need extra stimulation in order to appropriately feel and identify their alveolar ridge. Talktools.com is a great website to buy these oral tools!
3. Peanut butter: I have had parents in the past who have tried this technique. Try placing a small dab of peanut butter behind the child’s teeth and then tell them to lick it off. They will not only feel their alveolar ridge, but also be appropriately placing their tongue where they need to in order to produce the /L/ sound.
Once a child can appropriately place their tongue behind their teeth it’s time for the lateral emission! In order to get your child/client to allow air to flow through the sides of the tongue, have them suck in and feel the cold air on the sides (try it yourself). Then have them slowly flow the air out. Once voicing is added, your child/student/client will hopefully then have a better idea of how to appropriately produce the /L/ sound.
Have a technique not mentioned here? Share it here on Speechbop!
A few days ago I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to be trained in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention. Why you ask, was a speech pathologist attending such a training? Well the answer is simple. Many speech pathologists work as part of a multi-disciplinary team. This team can include psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers, special education teachers, etc. As part of this team, we often encounter children with a variety of disorders which can often include behavioral. It is not uncommon for a child to receive speech therapy as well as counseling. Many of these children are unaware of how to take out anxiety and frustration. Because of this, it can come out in other ways such as verbal or physical aggression. I had a wonderful instructor named Lindy Blazek. She made the training very enjoyable using personal experiences. The goal of this program is to provide for the Care, Welfare, Safety and Security of everyone involved in a crisis situation. Some of the things I learned included the appropriate CPI stance to allow children to feel respect, have personal space yet allowing myself an escape route if necessary. The class learned about verbal intervention when a child may show signs of escalation. We also learned several block and move techniques to protect ourselves in such a case. These blocks are not only important to keep ourselves safe, but more importantly, keep the child safe by preventing them from hurting themselves. My favorite part of the training was when we all had a chance to share personal experiences. It was so interesting to hear all of my colleagues who have been in these predicaments. Overall, I really enjoyed the class. My colleagues and I are presenting the information to my school next week as we felt this is information was too important not to share!
I’m not sure if anyone else subscribes to Scholastic’s magazine, “Instructor,” but I often enjoy reading articles that can help me improve my speech sessions. I came across a really interesting article in the Spring 2012 issue. The article claimed that texting on a cell phone can actually improve spelling in kids. My first thought was, NO WAY could that be possible. As I read on though, the article mentioned a lot of interesting facts that had never occurred to me. I wanted to share them here! A recent Nielson survey states that the average American teen texts 3,339 messages per month. How can we use this information to help the students we teach every day? According to the article, two recent studies have proven this idea to be true. A British study that was published in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning concluded that texting helped in the development of phonological awareness and reading skills. The second study was published in the Australian Journal of Educational Development & Psychology and concluded that texting improves spelling because phonological skills are also increased. Here are a few ways the article advocates for texting:
- Texting helps students read: Children have to often become creative when texting to help them shorten their messages. An example of this is “C u l8ter” for see you later.
- Texting boosts phonology: When being creative with texts which can be seen in the example above, children must understand how sounds and letters are put together. Texting allows children to be able to do this on a daily basis.
- Texting is a fun way to play with words: Essentially, texting is writing, and why would we ever stop a group of children from writing? ::Especially when its hard to get them to even start in the classroom::
- Inventing new textisms is creative: Having to abbreviate words is not easy to do. By creating textisms such as “gr8″, children have to use creativity to make texting quicker.
But how can I stop children from texting in the middle of class? Firstly, why do we need to have children STOP completely? This article also showed me how to incorporate texts into my classroom so that children are doing work while doing what they enjoy at the same time. They listed some incredible resources that I just had to share:
- classparrot.com: This website is a “hassle-free way for teachers to text their students.” Teachers can remind their students of upcoming exams (test Monday!) and send homework and event reminders (class trip tomorrow, don’t forget to pack a lunch!). The cool thing about this website is that parents can also be added to the contact list, which is great when working with younger children who don’t have phones of their own.
- polleverywhere.com: This website is a way to gather live responses in any venue: including schools! You can easily creat polls that can be text to students who then respond. Students can then view the results of the poll.
- studyboost.com: This website allows teachers to create study questions and have their students discuss them via text messages.
- clickerschool.com: This amazing website allows students to choose multiple choice and short answer questions via cellphones.
One of the biggest things that I took from this article was that I am no longer going to ban cell phones from my class, but rather, try to incorporate it as often as I can. By doing so, I can hopefully provide an environment that is more exciting and most importantly, motivational!
Have you already used texting to assist in your classroom? Share with us at Speechbop!
You may often hear speech pathologists and teachers discussing a child’s “pragmatic skills.” “Pragmatics” is a word that simply means the use of language in social contexts. An example of this can be seen through a variety of things that we do during effective communication. Examples are as follows:
1. Greeting: One important aspect of pragmatics is appropriately greeting individuals.
2. Eye contact: Maintaining appropriate eye contact during conversational speech is a very important skill so that the talker knows you are listening.
3. Facial expressions: The ability to use appropriate facial expressions as storiesor conversations change.
4. Posture: Demonstrating appropriate body posture (not hunched over) when talking or listening.
5. Nodding: The ability to nod or demonstrate understanding of what is being said.
6. Intonation: The ability to change your tone or intonation appropriately to match the mood of the conversation.
7. Request clarification: Another important aspect of having effective communication is requesting clarification when something is not understood.
8. Topic: Another pragmatic skill involves maintaining the topic of conversation. Some children will hear a word or part of the sentence and then go off topic to discuss something else. It is important to bring them back to the original topic.
There are several other pragmatic skills such as politeness markers, giving explanations and appropriate imitation. Above is a list of some of the ones that I look closely for. If you suspect that a child has a Pragmatic Language Disorder, contact a speech pathologist. One standardized test that can be given is called the Test of Pragmatic Language-2 (TOPL-2). This is a norm-referenced test that provides important information and assists in program planning. Remember that strong pragmatic skills are important to achieve effective communication!
The /r/ sound is one of the most difficult to teach in therapy. Several of my children struggle to produce the /r/ sound appropriately. Because of this, I wanted to see what other speech pathologists were doing during their treatment. I found out some new and interesting techniques that I am definitely going to try with my clients!
-Auditory Bombardment- One technique, called auditory bombardment, involves the child listening to a repetitive and intense list of words including the targeted sound (in this case, the /r/). This evidence based procedure is supposed to assist children in their rate of sound development.
-Imitation- This technique may seem obvious (“I keep modeling a good /r/ but they just aren’t appropriately imitating). Another option would be to have the child imitate certain animal sounds that are fun to make and may ease the child’s pressure of trying to model the sound appropriately. Some good animals to imitate are tigers (roarrrrrr), dogs (ruff, ruff), or birds (chirp, chirp).
-Incorporate mirrors- Although the /r/ sound is hard to see with a mirror, I always like to incorporate them into my therapy sessions to increase awareness of mouth, tongue and lip movements.
-Jaw movement- I often ask my clients to produce the /L/ sound. While they are doing this, I then model how to gently pull their jaws down until the /r/ sound is eventually reached.
There are plenty of other techniques to produce the /r/ sound, but these are the 3 that I find the most useful. Have any other techniques you want to share? Tweet us at Speechbop! We would love to hear your feedback!
With state testing starting this week in Connecticut, my coworkers have been running around making sure that all the students in our school are receiving the accommodations they are entitled too. This got me thinking, “how many parents are unaware of their child’s testing accommodations?” Children with IEP’s are often given testing accommodations (ex: extended time, alternate setting, reader, bubbler). These accommodations give these children the opportunity to perform at their best. For example, if a child performs better when given extra time, their IEP may mandate that they have extended time to take all standardized tests. If you are a parent, and know that your child has testing accommodations, it wouldn’t hurt to contact their teacher just to ensure that those accommodations are being met. As a parent, its important to advocate for your child. Did your child become eligible for special education services? Make sure to ask if your child would benefit from testing accommodations. It could make a big difference in how your child performs and these test results could affect future placement in your child’s education!
I recently came across a poll taken from the ASHA Leader. I am always looking for new and meaningful ways to treat, so I thought I would compile and share some treatment ideas for stuttering written by myself and fellow speech pathologists. I have used several of these techniques that have proven to be successful with my clients. Listed below are just some of those techniques. Please keep in mind that not all of these strategies may be appropriate with all clients.
- Easy onset
- Light articulatory taps
- Breathing exercises
- Pacing boards/pacing strategies (i.e. only speaking as fast as you can write).
- Light finger tapping on each syllable
- Listing celebrities that stutter (often builds confidence and awareness)
- Going over statistical information (“you are not alone!”)
- Having them overcome fear by using the phone or ordering in a restaurant
- Maintaining eye contact to desensitize “fear”
Want to add a technique that you use? Contact me or tweet us at @speechbop