Good Morning and Happy Spring! We have officially made it through the winter season….YAY! I am more than ready to hang up the heavy coats, boots, and mittens, so I say WELCOME SPRING with open arms. Crocus, hyacinths, daffodils, and forsythias are sprinkling the landscape with dots of color yielding an appetizer for the delights to come. Today I am a happy camper!
We are beginning a new 7-part series today focusing on eliciting sounds. I do not care how long you have been working with articulation, we all can use a new trick to try. If you are old dinosaurs like us, you have probably tried many of these things on your own and can share some of your ideas with us. We would love for you to comment and share your tricks.
We will be targeting only one sound per blog entry, except for today. Today we will focus on /j/ (the letter Y), /w/, and /h/. What you are about to read are tips to elicit these sounds for your students who need just a little more instruction. You know, those who just are not “getting it”.
The letter Y /j/: To get correct tongue positioning for this sound shape from /i/ to /ʌ/ . Have the child practice saying just the /i/ (long E) a few times, then have them prolong the sound and say /ʌ/ (uh). This should produce an exaggerated /j/. Continue to practice this fashion shortening the /i/ until you get the perfect /j/.
You may wish to try this simple method of teaching it as the “Karate sound”. Get out of your seats and using both arm and leg movements, karate chop the air as you say an exaggerated /j/. For some kids they can do the “karate chop sound” when they cannot imitate /i/-/ʌ/. This is very effective for those children who do not understand where to put their tongue, as well as those who learn best though movement. This will not work with students who have motor issues, but I’d still give it a try because you just never know what is going to work with a particular child.
The /w/ sound : An easy way to get /w/ is to shape from /u/ (oo) to /i/ (long E). You can also shape from /u/-/ʌ/. Either of these will move the lips from a pucker to a smile which is the movement you want them to do.
The /h/ sound: For such an easy sound to produce, /h/ can be very difficult for some children to learn. One effective way is to teach it as the “Running sound”. With the wee little ones who do not like sitting still this can be a fun sound to learn. Using the gym or playground would be your best location for this but adapt as you need. Get the kids up and have everyone run. After a bit of a run have them stop and you demonstrate, in slow motion, running with exaggerated arm movements and a very audible /h/-/h/-/h/ with each arm swing. Then have the kids practice until they can produce it correctly. I find that just the arm movement is enough cueing when we work at the therapy table after they have learned the sound.
Some children need a visual cue for understanding that their airstream is to be directed out, not in. To help them “see” this, have them hold their hand, palm-up, in front of their mouth. Place a cotton ball on the heel of their palm and have them exhale (use whatever cue you have previously taught.) If they exhale, the cotton ball will move forward on their hand, which excites them! I have also found that it is best not to cue the little ones with the word “blow,” for that is what they do! What you really want is an exhale, so I generally tell them to “breathe” or “use your running sound,” “use your tired sound,” or whatever cue you have found that works with them.
Hope these tidbits will help you in your therapy this week. Please share with us the tricks that work for you!
Leah and Dean