Posts Tagged ‘speech therapy’

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”.



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.