Many of my articulation students are now in the repetitive phase of practicing their speech sounds. However, I have a group of kindergarten students that all need explicit instruction from the very beginning of the hierarchy. We have many sounds to cover, as well as working on techniques for final sounds, consonant blends, and multiple syllable words. We use a variety of stimulus words, but some of the important words for them in their kindergarten class include numbers, colors, days of the week, and sight words.
I am having so much fun teaching them the specifics of each sound! They are learning how to incorporate the sounds into words using segmentation, minimal pairs, visual feedback using the mirror, and letter cues from the written word.
The strategy they have responded to the most, however, has been the sound cue system that we have developed together as a group. It started when I wanted them to see/hear/recognize/know the difference between a “v” and a “b” for the word “have”. I bounced my hand with an imaginary ball while writing “hab” and then put my fingers in a peace sign to look like the letter v while writing “have”. When doing the “v” cue I push my fingers from my lips outward to show that the sound is continuous. I pronounced each word while tapping the written word and using the visual cue. They loved this! And better yet, they understood how to recognize which sound to use in various words.
As they are practicing words now, they will use the visual cue as they say the sound. It’s a way for them to remember how to use their tongue/lips/breath. So far they have learned how to interchange between cues for v, s, b, f, th, and l. They love that they are creating their own system. That ownership is very powerful in seeing carryover.
We also stumbled across a very motivating reinforcer with this race car track. It made its way into my therapy room last week and these kindergarten girls have been bargaining with me on ways that they can earn time to play with it! So they each took three cards at a time, used all of our strategies (segmenting, visual sound cue, mirrors) and when they used successful placement for each I gave them a car to use. Hearing their giggles and seeing their quick speech progress makes it so rewarding for me!
I’d love to hear ways that you incorporate visual cues into your articulation therapy!