With over 30 years of speech therapy sessions, I still get surprised by what I encounter and have a few laughs as I drive to clients’ homes and deliver services. It was my first time at this house last week, although I knew the 10 year old boy and his family (when they lived in another neighborhood) because I had worked with him when he was 2 1/2 to build his language. Mom had said he needed some help with his /r/ sound but as we caught up about school, I realized he also had a frontal lisp. I took out my iPad with “Articulation Station” to do a quick assessment of his /s/. He was so enthusiastic as he tried to follow my models of words starting with /s/. As we were talking back and forth, I kept asking him to repeat because I couldn’t hear him–interference–there was a screeching in the background after every time we said an /s/. It turned out that my friend’s two pet parakeets were nicely imitating my /s/ models in perfect timing with my client. Normally, I consider myself rather flexible but this time I asked if we could move to another room!
The other funny things that happened last week was during a meeting with a mom to go over the results of testing her 4 1/2 year old. After I shared the language testing results, I went over what sound substitutions he made. She was so excited to have figured out how to get him to say the right sound. Since he used s/th, but used a frontal lisp for /s/, she simply said, “Say th” when he was supposed to say an /s/ thus, correctly making an /s/ with his tongue back! Clever mom to use what he is doing right to clear up his articulation. Isn’t that what we do as speech therapists?