Posts Tagged ‘getting started’

November 13th, 2013

Ready for S

Although there is no amazingly illustrated book to help you teach your child/student the  S sound, it’s time to launch a new sound.  The sound is very commonly mispronounced  in English. Many people refer to this as a “lisp”. Let me explain.  When you say S your tongue is behind your teeth.  Some children and adults put the tongue between their teeth so S sounds like TH.

Just like the R sound you should ask some questions before you start trying to correct S:

  1. Can the child say S by itself? Ask him to look in a mirror or at your face. Say, “Can you say sssss?”
  2. Is he developmentally ready to say the sound?  Many 2 year olds have difficulty with S, that’s considered normal.  If a 6 or 7 year old is still having trouble he needs some help.
  3. Can you get a correct sound by saying;

What does a snake say?”   or

Keep your tongue in.”         or

Close your teeth.”

If your child can’t say S by itself and he’s only 3 or 4 years old, you could wait a month or 2 and try again.  If  he’s 5,6 or 7 years old  you should find a speech-language pathologist at your child’s school and ask for help.

If you can get your child to say S by itself you’re ready for the next step. Stayed tuned for part 2.  In the meantime you can-

  •  Talk about “the snake sound” and point out when you hear it. You could say,  “Sandwich, that has the snake sound.”
  •  Get a book out from the library that has many words with S.
  • Read the book emphasizing S . (Seven Silly Eaters by MaryAnn Hoberman is a good one to try.)
  • Don’t expect your child to say S correctly in words yet-just help tune his ear to it.
May 28th, 2013

Getting Started

This blog is intended to help parents and teachers who are looking for basic information about speech therapy.  If you have concerns about a child or student you should seek professional help.  Speech and language delays are sometimes signs of more serious disorders.

Speech therapists can be found in schools, community health clinics, child development centres and hospitals.  There are also private speech-language pathologists.  Links to the American Speech and Language Association (ASHA) and the Canadian Speech and Language Association(CASLPA) are on this site.  You can find private speech-language pathologists listed there.  In Canada the provincial association will also list therapists who do private practice.  For example; there is a website for the BC Association of Speech-language Pathologists and Audiologists and the Ontario Association of  Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

It’s not always easy to sort out where to start. If your child/student can’t imitate the sound at all you will need help. That said, it doesn’t hurt to try.  Some children pick it up very quickly with a little teaching.  You might try these ideas first:

  • Make sure the child is looking at your face.  Say the sound and feel what your tongue and lips are doing.
  •  Ask him to imitate you.  For example; “Say rrrr”.
  • Sometimes it helps if you look in a mirror together.
  • R is often the most difficult sound to teach, so start with an easier one if your child isn’t ready for R.
  • Look at the post titled, “The Bear Facts”, June 20, 2010 for more information about starting speech therapy.



June 20th, 2010

The Bear Facts

There are few hard and fast rules about the exact age children learn to say speech sounds correctly. We know that some sounds are easier and learned earlier.  Some sounds are harder. They’re often learned later.

Easier sounds:  M, W, P, B, H, T, D, Y

Difficult sounds: L, Sh, Ch, J,  R, S, Z, Th

All children make errors as they learn to talk.  Lots of children (and some adults ) lisp, for example.  This means S sounds like Th – “thun” for “sun”. It’s normal for some children to make mistakes with sounds that are difficult, even up to ages 6 and 7.

One of my children had difficulty with R. When she was 5 years old, she didn’t mind practising it a little.  That’s all she needed. On the other hand, it took 3 years of practise (off and on) for another one to learn R.  There’s something to be said for waiting until the child is developmentally ready.

If a child is always frustrated because no one understands him or stops talking because he’s embarrassed, you need to seek help.  This is really important because some medical professionals  say “Your child will outgrow it”.  Suddenly, the child is 10 and no one has addressed the issue.

For a child with only a few errors, these strategies might be all that is needed to get on the road to clear speech.  These same strategies can be used when teaching students learning English.

Strategies :

Pay attention to the way you talk.  Be a good model.

Say your sounds clearly, so your child/student can hear the correct pronunciation.

If you talk fast – slow down.

If your child/student makes an error, repeat it back correctly.  Put extra emphasis on the correct sound.  If the child says, “wun” for “run”, you say, “Yes, let’s rrrrun.”

Talk about the sound he’s having trouble with. Give it a name. Call it “The bear sound”.

Warning: Don’t  keep asking your child to repeat the sound  if he really can’t do it.

Activities :  To encourage awareness of the R sound,  use the picture of the bear at the beginning of  Ready for R.   Ask, “What does a bear say?”  Have the child draw a picture of a bear or cut one out. Put the picture on the fridge or somewhere in the  classroom where you both will see it.  This visual will remind you to talk about it.  Act out “Goldilocks and the 3 Bears”.  Don’t forget bears frequently say “rrrrr”.  Not only did the Baby Bear say, “Someone’s been sitting in my chair”, he also said “rrrrrrr”.  Get some bear books from the library. Have a Teddy Bear day.  Have Bear Olympics or a Teddy Bear picnic.  Have fun!