Moving into the school setting more, I have encountered a lot more articulation goals ( where as home health tends to be more language based). To spruce up my articulation skills, I attended a CEU workshop on the SATPAC approach for articulation. This class had some great tips and inspired me to write this post.
A child must understand appropriate placement in order to correct an articulation error. However, it can be a struggle to teach a young student to anchor their tongue or move their lips a specific way (you can imagine the confused faces). My favorite thing to use to assist me with mini anatomy lessons is playdough. I mold a tongue out of playdough and model appropriate placement that way. Then, I have the child create a playdough tongue and reiterate the information back to me. Odds are, if the child is not able to explain the placement to you, they do not quite understand!
This next “tip” may seem obvious, but I needed a reminder. When working on articulation goals it is best to provide clear and instant feedback. Meaning, correct an error as soon as you hear it (don’t wait till after the speech exercise). For example, “Oh I heard wope instead of rope, we need to make sure we are moving our tongue and not just our lips.”
I learned this trick from Stephen Sacks while attending his SATPAC workshop. This “trick” can be helpful when addressing sounds at sentence, reading, and conversation level. Prompt the child to push the tally counter each time he/she says a word with his/her target sound. The purpose of the tally counter is to make the child aware of his sound and more conscious of his/her production.
Note: I also like to use the tally counters for sound discrimination. I will record a child saying a list of words/sentences/reading/etc. with their target sounds. Then, I have the child listen to the recording and tally each time they produce their sound correctly.
- Tactile Prompts
We learn through different sensory modalities (i.e. visual, audio, tactile, etc.), so put on those gloves, and get in there!
Some tactile prompts include:
- Small suckers (especially when addressing /l/, /t/, or /d/)
- Tongue depressors (I just discovered how popsicle sticks make the perfect “child-size” tongue depressor!)
- I have also heard of floss picks being used to address /r/
- Jaw Grading
This was something brought to my attention at the SATPAC workshop. Correcting articulation errors can be affected by inability to move the jaw appropriately. This is seen frequently for sounds /s/ and /r/. A child will bite down (clenching their jaw), or open their mouth too wide. Stephen Sacks presented an exercise where you practice four variations of jaw movement (mouth all the way open, halfway open, slightly open, and teeth closed). Once, a child is able to move their jaw into these four positions, they show the ability to stabilize their jaw. The importance of jaw stabilization when working on sounds such as /s/ and /r/ is understanding moving the jaws vs. moving lips for sound production.
This is widely used in the SATPAC approach. Coarticulation is when you place a sound in front of the target sound in order to elicit the appropriate phoneme. For example, when targeting “s” you can say “eat soup.” The placement of /t/ right before the /s/ allows the articulators to prepare for the /s/ sound (due to the tongue placement for /t/ and /s/ being the same).
The SATPAC Approach was a great workshop led by Stephen Sacks. I highly recommend this class for anyone looking to advance their articulation strategies.
Some of my favorite blogs for articulation tips:
I would love to hear your articulation hacks in the comments below!