Articulation Strategies

If your child has just a few articulation errors and if you are willing to spend 10-15 minutes a day working on it, chances are you can remediate the errors.  If your child has numerous errors, if he cannot imitate your models for achieving accurate placement or does not progress using this protocol,  consult a speech-language pathologist.  If you practice daily and have minimal progress after a month, consult an SLP.

Keys for remediation:

  • Teach placement – the position of the tongue, lips, cheeks and jaw.  Make the sound yourself, then model for your child.  Use a mirror.  Don’t work words until you have placement.  (my placement tricks are listed below)
  • Practice the sound in isolation in sets of 10 (make the sound 10 times, rest, repeat)
  • Practice the sound paired with vowels
  • Practice the sound in the initial position of single syllable words.  Create a target word list and practice each word, 5-10 times.
  • Practice the target words in phrases and sentences.
  • Create new target word lists with the sound in the sound in the middle and at the end of words.  Practice whichever is easiest first.
  • Practice the new word lists in phrases and sentence
  • When the child is 80% accurate, start expecting accurate production in conversation.  Give gentle reminders throughout the day.

Placement Cues

/b/, /p/ – lips together, then make a sound and blow them apart

/d/, /t/ – touch the bumpy part of the roof of your mouth with your tongue tip.  Make a sound an quickly move it away

/f/ – bite your bottom lip and blow air.

/v/ – bite your bottom lip and make a sound

/g/, /k/ – this one is tricky.  The back of your tongue has to lift to touch the back of your palate.  I usually teach this the first time with the child lying on his back so that his tongue is naturally in the correct position.  Often, we have to start teaching this sound with teaching the child to gargle.  Gargling put the tongue in the appropriate position and they can build the muscle strength to move it there voluntarily to make the sound.

/h/ – open your mouth big and breath hard; pretend you are a panting dog

/j/ – make a /d/ and stretch out the sound.  Or try saying  /d sh/ really fast

/ch/ – make a /t/ and stretch out the sound.  Or try making a /ts/ really fast

/th/ – bite your tongue tip and blow air, then pull your tongue back quickly

/l/ – touch your top teeth with your tongue and make a sound.  You need to be able to elevate your tongue tip without using your jaw or mandible to make an accurate /l/.

/w/ – make kissy lips, then make a sound.

/s/, /sh/ – the tongue stays behind the front teeth.  The sides of the back of the tongue overlay the molars.  Sometimes keeping your teeth closed and smiling is helpful, initially for the /s/.  Typically, the tongue tip is pointed down for /s/ and up for /sh, but not always.  I often have to let kids ‘play around’ with making the sound until it sounds good, then work on maintaining whatever position they used to make a good sound.

/r/ – the tongue is in a retracted position.  That means it is pulled all the way back and ‘bunched’ at the back of the mouth.  A detailed approach to /r/ is coming in a future post, as it is the most misarticulated sound and typically takes the longest to correct.

Practice practice practice!  That’s what it takes and you can teach your child new sounds….0ne Word at a Time!

Good luck!

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