Posts Tagged ‘speech sounds’

February 18th, 2014

Speech Therapy-What’s Best?

Parents sometimes ask me about different therapy methods-“tactile cues” for example.  I have been asked “Should I buy this oral motor therapy kit?”  You may come across information about different methods to treat speech sound problems.  It can be confusing.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The most important part of any therapy is the relationship between the therapist, the child and the caregiver. What’s important in the end is what works best for your individual child or student.  If you have a therapist you have confidence in, and it’s working, you’re on the right track.
  •  Many different methods are successful. Caroline Bowen, S-LP has an extensive list of treatment methods with explanations.  If you want more information this is her website:

  • There is not a lot of evidence that any particular therapy works better than others.  You should be aware though that there is no evidence that nonspeech oral motor treatments make a difference to speech sound problems. A nonspeech treatment might be blowing whistles to strengthen the muscles of the lips.  The American Speech and Hearing Association published an article on this topic.

  • If you’re unsure about a therapy that’s being recommended  remember you can always get a second opinion.
January 15th, 2014

Ready for S-step one

As with all sounds if your child can imitate it by itself, he’s ready to start.  The first step is not as easy as it sounds because all children are different.  You have to decide where to begin.  Will it be at the beginning of words, at the end or in blends? ( I never start with sounds in the middle of words-too hard.)

Let me show you what this means for S:

  • at the beginning of words-  sat, sun, sing etc.
  • in the middle of words- passing, bossy, messy etc.
  • at the end of words-gross, miss, rice* etc.
  • in blends (2 consonants together)- stop, slip, spell etc.

The reason you have to decide where to begin?  Some children can say the sound easily at the beginning, some at the end and some in blends.  I never know what it will be when I start.  Just ask your child to imitate some S words and see what happens.  If you say “sun” and he says “tun“, then you say “Look at me, sssssun” and he still says “tun“, you’ll know not to start with those words.

If I had to guess, I’d say S blends and plurals are the easiest for most children I see.

* Notice sometimes the letter C sounds like S.


1. Print the attached sheet of plurals or use the template to make your own.  Even I figured out how to search for images, save them on my computer and put them in the squares , with a little help.  I have to thank my webmaster Janine for the template.  One  website I used for some of the pictures had lots of free simple line drawings:

2. Make as many copies as you need so your child gets lots of practice saying the words.  Cut them up to use as flashcards or leave one sheet to use as a matching board.

3. Short sessions (5-10 minutes) that are fun are better than long boring sessions that you both hate.  That way you’re more likely to be able to fit them in daily.

Plurals Worksheet




December 7th, 2013

Ready for S-What about Z?

It’s interesting that I often help children to say S correctly, but rarely even address the Z sound.  When we say these sounds we do the same thing with our tongue and jaw, but with the Z sound we vibrate our vocal cords at the same time.  Try touching your throat while you make an S sound.  Your vocal cords are open, so you don’t feel much. Now try making a sound. You’ll feel the vibration.

The point is,  if you say S incorrectly, you’ll make the same mistake with  Z .  However, there are many words in English that have S and not as many with Z.  Where Z does come up more often is in plurals.  This week I explained to a parent who hadn’t noticed that in English  we often pronounce plurals with  Z. 

Try these words with your hand on your throat. See if you can tell which ones are the snake sound –S and which ones are the bee sound- Z.

cups      bugs      ads      rats      packages      locks      foxes     hairs      cabs     clothes

To keep it simple I usually focus on S and worry about Z  later, but if  plurals are the target I have to talk about both sounds.  If you’re working on plurals you can use these reminders; “Don’t forget the snake sound” or “Don’t forget the bee sound”.



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.