Soon after I get into articulation therapy with a child and they can make their error sound correctly, I find myself playing little games to improve their discrimination between their error and correct sounds. Today was a funny one. My little guy has been working on /l/ and is pretty consistent in producing it correctly in sentences, but lately has been generalizing it to all his /r/ and /w/ sounds which really diminishes intelligibility! So, I wrote the letters R, L, W across the bottom of my paper and asked him to point to the letter that represented the sound in the word I said, “witch, rake, like, etc.” I was surprised that he was able to get them all right. Interestingly enough, he stopped generalizing so much after that. Another technique I use is I tell my articulation students if they correct their error sound during a lesson, they get 5 √’s instead of the usual one. (I usually use the iPad app, Articulation Station, where you tap a √ or x after a response and hear a positive or negative sound.) It really excited the kids and gets them monitoring their responses. I thought I was really making progress today while working on/th/ when my student asked me the difference between the sounds in “thank” and “this.” I said, “Good question!” and had him hold his hand to his neck to feel the vibration and silence for the two sounds. Then he said, “I know, the thank sounds like /f/ and the this sounds like /d/!” He just described his system of substitutions, and I thought I was teaching him the difference between voiceless and voiced consonants. I had a good laugh.
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Erika O. Cardamone, MS, CCC-SLP