• First step: 

    help your child hear the sound in words over and over (auditory bombardment).

  •  

    Second step:

    help your child hear the difference between speech sounds (this called discrimination).

    (note: in this video, I am NOT a fan of the "good boy" praise)

  • Next:

    Children usually begin at the syllable level and work up to the connected speech level. Below is a detailed description of each level.

    Syllables/Isolation:

    First things first, a child has to be able to say the desired sound. The syllable level is usually the first step since all other speech demands are taken away. For example, if you are practicing /b/, start with “ba” or “ab.” Once the child can say the sound in syllables, move on to the word level.

    Words:

    Next, practice saying the target sound within words. To continue our /b/ example, practice “ball,” “able,” and “tub.” It is important to practice saying the sound in the beginning (initial), middle (medial), and final (position) since the tongue, teeth, jaws, lips, and vocal cords have to coordinate and move muscles differently depending on where the sound falls within a word. Once the child can say his/her sound in words, the sentence level is next. 

    Sentences:

    A child needs to practice the sound within sentences. For example, “I see a ball.” This stage can be difficult since the brain has to remember how to say the sound while processing all those extra speech and language demands.  We are making a good speech habit here!

    Conversation:

    This is the last step and where home practice is the most crucial. A child MUST say the target sound correctly during a conversation. I recommend short, controlled practices for this one!

  • 15 WAYS OF MAKING ARTICULATION HOMEWORK FUN AT HOME 

    (from Beata Klarowska, M.S. CCC-SLP of Virtual Speech Center Inc.)

    How many of us speech and language pathologists have heard parents reporting “He did not want to do his speech homework”? I am guessing all of us! Motivation is the key for children to practice speech drills, and sometimes incorporating speech therapy or speech homework into a fun activity or game can make a difference. Below are some fun ideas for incorporating speech drills into different games/activities at home:

    • Board games: This is a classic way of drilling with flashcards. This can be easily implemented by parents at home, as most children own some type of board game. The parents should also play the board game with the child so it is more motivating and special for the child. The parent should also draw an articulation flashcard and say the word to provide the child with auditory reinforcement of the correct production. The parent might want to say a word incorrectly on purpose once in a while so the child can catch him or her and correct the error - this teaches self-monitoring, and children love it when adults make mistakes and they can correct them.
    • Memory card game: This is another simple way of making speech homework more fun. The parents simply use the flashcards provided by a speech and language pathologist to play a memory game. The child uncovers the flashcard and tries to get a match while doing articulation drills.
    • Hopscotch: Parents can play this game in two different ways. One way is to actually draw a hopscotch court with a chalk outside or to draw one on the piece of paper. The child will throw a rock or a paper wad (when playing the paper hopscotch) then say the word multiple times from the flashcard determined by the number the rock or the paper ball ended on.
    • Bucket ball: Parents can play this game using multiple small buckets or cups. The targeted words are written on pieces of paper that are rolled into small balls. The child draws a paper ball, opens it and reads (or repeats) the targeted word. When produced correctly, the child can crumple the paper back into a ball and throw it into one of the buckets/cups.
    • Egg hunt: Parents can write targeted words on pieces of paper and put the pieces inside plastic eggs. The child is asked to find the hidden eggs. Upon opening an egg, the child reads (or repeats) the words inside the egg.
    • Lights out: Parents hide flashcards or written words on pieces of paper in a dark room and ask the child to find them using a flashlight. The child drills with the found words.
    • Make up silly stories: This can be played by the whole family. Each family member draws a few flashcards or written words and makes up his or her own story. (Older children can write them down.) The family meets after a few minutes to listen to all the stories. The stories can be audio or video recorded so the child then can retell each story for more practice.
    • Word challenge: This also can be played by the whole family. Each member is asked to come up with as many words as possible, starting or ending with given sound, within two minutes.
    • Make up silly songs: Similar to making up silly stories but this time the child and/or family are asked to make up songs.
    • Design your flashcards: This art project involves creating personalized flashcards with targeted words. The parents and children can draw, color in or cut out pictures from the magazines to create their own cool flashcards. Parents and children can then trade their cards to practice different phonemes (sounds) at the carrier phrase level (e.g., “ I will trade my rocket card with you,” etc).
    • Design your own board game: This is another family art project. Children can create their own board games by drawing a board game inside a folder and decorating it with stickers, etc. The child plays his or her own game while drawing flashcards.
    • Guess what?: The parent describes the targeted words and the child guesses the word (for example, “It is a yellow animal that quacks”).
    • Draw or act out words: Same as above, but the targeted words are acted out or drawn.
    • Design your own magazine: The child and parents can use the articulation flashcards provided by a speech and language pathologist or their own materials to create a magazine. The child is asked to come up with different short “articles” containing the targeted words.
    • Create your own newsroom: Similar to the above, except the child is video recorded telling news stories involving targeted words. For example, the child could be asked to come up with news stories using the words “raccoons,” “rake” and “rain.”