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What is articulation therapy?
In articulation therapy, a speech therapist first sees whether sounds will the most effective route. This helps in recognizing other sounds and speech components in the long run. The actual process will start with teaching different sounds in isolation. This is important to give children control over the movement of their lips, mouth, and muscles.
Should I be worried if my kid mumbles?
When parents first find out that their kids have speech or language disorders, it can be a lot to process. They start worrying about the future, or different therapies that they'll need to go through. Don't worry! If you get help from a speech therapist, chances are you'll have everything under control. And that's due to a simple treatment known as articulation therapy.
What exactly is an articulation disorder?
According to Psychology Today, an articulation disorder is a communication issue. Children are more prone to such disorders. It involves persistent problems with words and speech. Research shows that articulation disorders happen in around 7% of children. This does not include other factors like mental, hearing, neurological or social issues.
The first goal is to gain control of the ability to produce sound. After that, the therapist follows other complex language targets. This will allow kids to generalize sound with words, sentences, and speech.
What are the goals of articulation therapy?
The processes and progression involved in this therapy are:
Sound in Isolation
Working with sound in isolation involves saying sounds by themselves without using vowels. So, if your child has problems with pronouncing the /t/ sound, a therapist would work on that. Your child will practice these sounds many times in a row.
The more correct responses your child will produce, the better the process goes. Generally, about ten correct repetitions in succession are great. When producing sound in isolation is done, then you move on to the next step.
Sound in Words
At this stage, you have to decide the position of a word you wish to target. Then, you start practicing some words in their first, middle or last position. A therapist will move your child to the next step if 80% of correct independent sounds are made. This then involves using the words in new sentences. This is a tricky stage.
At this point, children can produce imitation sounds rather than actual words. This is why it is important for parents to practice with their kids at home. Once each word is done, any previous errors are taken care of. Words should be repeated until the child says each of them correctly. To make a fun exercise at home, keep your children in mind.
Repeating hard tasks gets boring fast. So, try using colorful word flash cars. Or, with each list of words done correctly, reward your child with treats or games they like. The more practice you get at home, the easier it is for a speech therapist to make progress with your child. Following sound in words, the next step is incorporating those words in sentences and phrases.
Sound in Sentences
In this step, a speech therapist will focus on adding words into sentences. The process involves using a rotating sentence. In each rotating sentence, there is a change of words. With older kids, therapists have them make up their own sentences with the target words. Following the rotating technique, the target words are rotated with each sentence.
This is definitely a helpful tool to use for younger kids who still aren't able to read yet. They can learn and memorize each sentence, or make use of visual cues so that they can say the words out loud. You will also be able to improve the production of the target word once you make use of a sentence that has two to three target sounds in it. Your therapist will likely give you practice sheets to use at home.
Sound in Stories
This step is something that parents and therapists decide together. The process is questionable since some professionals think it doesn't help kids use sentences in real life scenarios. But other speech therapists argue that articulation therapy is incomplete without it. There has to be a middle ground before jumping from sentences to the conversation.
With younger children, therapists will choose different stories for them to read. They practice with the sounds they have already produced. The stories usually incorporate pictures or colors to keep the children interested.
Parents can take stories and worksheets home to continue the practice. Once a child is adept at reading 80% of the story out loud accurately, therapists will make them read the words without looking. This is a transition step to get correct production in the next step i.e. sound in conversation.
Sound in Conversation
In this step, your therapist will center conversations around words, phrases, and sentences. You probably already practice them. Therapists encourage parents to practice daily with kids at home. Make sure not to continue with the practice if your child starts becoming anxious, angry or under-confident.
How articulation therapy helped Erika's son?
Erika's son was 2 years and 9 months old when she realized he didn't speak as well as his other siblings. His pediatrician wasn’t worried, but Erika could tell something was wrong. Without wasting time, Erika decided to take her child to a speech therapist.
With articulation therapy, he now has 70 words in his arsenal, all having more than two syllables. His therapist helped him pick up new words easily and quickly every day. Now Erika can feel relieved knowing her son got the care he needed.
Pillars of Wellness is a multidisciplinary clinic. It offers a variety of services like articulation therapy. If you want to find a speech therapist who's just right for you, call now to get the help you need by booking an appointment.