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Monday, June 25, 2012

TOP 10 #8 Eliciting Sounds L

TADA! If you are one of our "weekly readers" then it will come as no surprise that today begins a repeat of our Eliciting Sounds series as our #8 through #1 spot winners in our Top 10.  People from around the world have accessed our blogsite just to read these posts.  WOW!  Sounds impressive until you give it just a little thought and realize it is not my engaging writing style or knowledge that draws them but a universal quest to find a new trick to try to get that kid to produce sounds correctly.  (That will certainly put you in your place, lol) So without further ado I will share again how to elicit the /l/ sound.

  (from 4/18/2011)

Little Linda lives alone
Lonely little Linda
Has no one to call her own
Lonely little Linda

If you are as old as I am, you will recall this practice poem from The Big Book of Speech. I never think of the L sound without recalling that poem, so, of course, I had to include it. I found it to be a terribly depressing poem and I always felt so sorry for little Linda. I have always hoped she one day found someone of her own, but if not, she at least helped thousands of kids habituate the L sound.
The L sound is usually so easy to correct. It’s the “singing sound” la-la-la-la-la ♫. Kids can pick up and imitate that so easily, right? For the most part, but it never fails one kid will come along who just cannot get the correct placement. What do you do for that child? Today Leah and I will share our tips and tricks of how we do it.

TIP #1: Jaw Stability and Segmentation
The child must have good stability of the jaw and must be able to segment the articulators. He should be able to hold his mouth open and lift his tongue tip up to the alveolar ridge without any jaw movement. All movement should be from the tongue and independent of the jaw. There should be no lip movement either. While I am not going to get into the oral motor debate regarding NSOME (Non Speech Oral Motor Exercises), I am going to tell you that the exercises that I have used have been exceedingly beneficial in teaching the child how to achieve jaw stability and segmentation. Once those skills were learned then regular articulation therapy could begin. I would even go so far as to say that taking the time to ensure the child had good jaw stability and could segment his articulators decreased the amount of time spent in therapy working on the L sound. When it comes to articulation therapy, I think we are all guilty of rushing into production and not spending time preparing the child for speech. Personally, I (Dean) am a huge fan of the bite blocks from Talk Tools and Sara Johnson’s procedure to teach jaw stability and tongue tip elevation. Pam Marshalla has techniques for this as well. Just remember oral motor exercises are not the goal of therapy. Your goal is /l/ in isolation in this case. The exercises are to facilitate correct production.

TIP #2: Tongue Tip Elevation
Once you have established good jaw stability and segmentation you can begin to work on tongue tip elevation. For some kids this is not a problem now that they have learned to separate the tongue and jaw, but for others they need a little more help. A very effective way to do this is to use Cheerios or Fruit Loops cereal. Actually any cereal with that shape will work well. The idea is that the child will hold the cereal up to the alveolar ridge using the tip of his tongue to achieve correct tongue placement. Full instructions for this technique can be found in the Talk Tools manual. I do not know if sharing them here with you would be an infringement of copyright or not, so I will err on the side of caution and simply tell you where you can find them.

TIP #3: Shape from Interdental /l/
If the other techniques are not working for you, you might want to try this. Have them place the tongue between the teeth touching the upper lip. From there you shape by gradually moving the tongue to behind the teeth.

TIP #4: Smile
A quick remedy to eliminate lip-rounding-or /w/ for /l/, when they are at the syllable or word level, is to tell them to smile broadly when saying the stimulus. Important: Choose your stimulus syllables and words carefully here as you do not want to choose words in which the lip rounding is needed to say the word. You’ll be setting the child up for failure if you do. Good vowels to use would be: lay, Lee, lie. You want to avoid low and Lou because the vowel will cause lip rounding and that is what you are trying to teach them not to do. Also, avoid words ending in lip sounds as you do not want them to use their lips at this point in therapy. Good words to use: lake, late, lazy, etc. You can use the word ”line” but not the word “lime” because lime uses the lips. You can use the word “leak” but not “leaf.” I’m sure you are following me. Just give thought to what you are having them do. Once they can say these words with sufficient accuracy you can then introduce all the other L words.

TIP #5: Dark L (final /l/)
When I was in school 100 years ago we were taught there were two sounds for /l/. There was a “light” /l/ and a “dark” /l/. I actually do not know if it is still taught that way but will share this with you because I found it handy when teaching the final /l/.
The “light” /l/ is your initial and medial sounding /l/ or the “la, la, la.” The “dark” /l/ is the final /l/ and has more of an “uhl” sound to it. In the area of the country in which Leah and I live, the final /l/ is often dropped from the words. Pool is pronounced “poo” and school is pronounced “schoo” Being anal, I take the time to teach it correctly even though it is probably considered a regionalism.
The easiest way to get the final L is like this:
1. Have to child say “ah” or “uh” and continue to voice it (say it for as long as they can keep it going)
2. Next, as they say “ah” have them slowly move the tongue tip up to the alveolar ridge for the /l/
3. At this point it should sound like “ahl” or “uhl” depending on which vowel you were using.
4. Now tell them freeze the tongue in that position (tongue tip up) as they stop the sound. It is important that the tongue stay up in position after the sound has ended to eliminate them saying “luh” at the end of the word (ball not balluh, etc)
5. Once they can do this successfully on several words you can usually move right along with traditional therapy.
I also use hand cueing for when to stop the sound. I say the sound with them as they are learning and gradually fade my voice so that only they are saying it.
I cannot remember where I learned this technique but do want to make it clear that this is not my original idea. However, Pam Marshalla teaches it this way, so I probably learned it from her J here’s the link to her site:

TIP#6: Clusters
For the kids who insert a schwa between the consonant clusters of bl, pl, etc, (puhlay for play, buhlue for blue) a quick trick is to simply tell them to say both sounds at once. I tell them to get their tongue ready for L and hold it and then put their lips together and say it at the same time. May take a few tries but they seem to understand what they are supposed to be doing this way.

Leah and Dean
Leah J. Musgrave, M.S. CCC-Sp
Dean Trout, retired SLP

Monday, June 18, 2012


We recently posted this entry and it has quickly moved into our TOP 10 category.  Claiming the #9 spot today is SpeechDrive. This was first published here April 9, 2012.

We all have our favorite population with which to work. My personal favorite group is preschool and elementary aged kids.  I love their enthusiasm, the way they think and their honesty... brutal as it may be sometimes.   For me middle school is the most difficult simply because I have a hard time dealing with the maturation process that is going on.  Raging hormones, rolling eyes, and an "attitude" pushes all the wrong buttons for me!

You can imagine my excitement when I found this website  which is dedicated to the middle & high school population. Speechdrive is a site created by Karen Clark an SLP from AZ.  She not only has many years of work experience but has also been recognized in recent years for her dedication and talent by receiving the "Teacher of the Year" award.  

A great thing about Karen's website site is that she totally uses a jump-drive for all her materials.  Leah has done this for years and had converted me to this way of carrying your therapy materials before I retired.  Now that is a convenience that saves you from back strain and sprains from toting a huge therapy bag.  I bet this younger generation has no idea or appreciation of just what a blessing that alone is for us :)

When I ask Karen for permission to blog about her website she replied, "I want the website to be a help to others and the more it is shared, the less pondering by fellow SLPs on a Monday morning."   Thank you Karen for sharing all your wonderful activities with the rest of us!!  

When you click on the link to her site you'll find 37 great ideas for therapy!  Not only suggested ideas but a clear and concise therapy methods guide.  She lists for you the Materials/Resources, Skills Targeted, and Instruction.  Here is an example: 

 Funny Headlines & Newspaper Clippings  (Activity)
Amusing and poorly written headlines and newspaper clippings are a
source of comedy on the Tonight Show and on the Internet.  Within a
classroom  or therapy setting, headlines/clippings can be used to
help students identify ambiguous language, syntax, and mechanical
errors.  Students also utilize inferential and reasoning abilities to
discover the original semantic intent of the headline or clipping.

For school appropriate headlines, please refer to the corresponding
page for a list that can be used as part of this activity.   

Skills Targeted:   

*Writing Mechanics/Error Identification

1. Introduce the headline or clipping to the student(s) by stating that the headline has
2. Provide clues for the students as to whether the errors are related to semantics, syntax,
or mechanics and adapt to the academic level of the student(s).
3. Have the student(s) read the headline or clipping aloud to assist in identifying the error.
4. If the error is semantic, have the student(s) state the double meaning of the headline.
5. This activity can be done as a group or individually.

Here is a sample of some of the humorous headlines from her list:

*Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers 

*If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile

*Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

*Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

*Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge

*Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half 

*Hospitals are sued by 7 Ft. Doctors 

*The Times: A young girl who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable teeth was rescued by a man on an inflatable lobster. A coastguard spokesman commented, 'This sort of thing is all too common.' 

She has several other funny headlines and newspaper clippings listed, but I only included these to give you a chuckle for today.  

This has been just one example of what you will find there. Remarkably there are 36 more!!  

Now if you were not already super excited about Speech Drive let me share that she has a list of iPad Apps for adult therapy, too!  In addition to the apps listing she explains how you can use You Tube effectively in therapy. She uses You Tube to create play lists and collections for therapy use with her adult population. For example, if you are working on sentence recall with your adult patient you can use funny commercials and Retro TV Theme Show Songs.  I love these ideas because it is meaningful and relevant to the patient.

I could just gush on and on about this fantastic site but I think you get the picture and hopefully will start following Karen's blog too!

See you next Monday with more great tips and trick from the 2 Gals, Leah and Dean.

Leah J Musgrave, M.S. CCC-Sp
Dean Trout  retired SLP

Monday, June 11, 2012

More Resources from Dr. Caroline Bowen

I received the most fantastic email last week from Dr. Caroline Bowen in which she shared links to her other intervention resources.  I am very happy to pass these along to you.  I still need to go back and update my previous posts with corrected links...(sigh) one day when there is time.  In the meanwhile here are all the resources in one place for your convenience.

Folks here is the Motherlode: NEW

Worksheets: Contrasts; Minimal Pairs; Near Minimal Pairs

Worksheets: Maximal Oppositions (Minimal Pairs)

Worksheets: Revisions and Repairs and the fixed-up-one routine

 Worksheets: Within Word ("Medial") Consonants

Thank you Dr. Bowen for your generosity and support of SLPs worldwide.  You make our daily therapy better in many ways!

Leah and Dean

Leah J Musgrave, M.S. CCC-SLP
Dean Trout Retired SLP

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dr. Caroline Bowen's, Worksheets

If you read our blog you know I am a mad devotee of Dr. Caroline Bowen and reference her many many times in my posts.  Her website had been reworked and most of the links in my previous blogs were left broken.  However, today I offer you a direct link to her FABULOUS worksheets.  Everything I have previously referenced is right here!

If you never keep anything else we share, KEEP THIS.  It is worth pounds of gold and we all know the price of gold these days ;)

Leah and Dean

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Slater Software Going Out Of Business

In a previous post I have mentioned Slater Software, so I wanted to give you a heads up that they are going our of business.  They are offering their final products at 50% off!  They close up shop on June 30th, so you'd better hurry if you are interested in any of their materials.

Leah and Dean

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

TOP 10 starting with #10

I want to ease my workload for the summer.  One way I plan to do this is to eliminate the pressure of having to have a blog posted each Monday.  I know you understand my desire to spend a little more quality time with my family and friends.  So where does this leave the blog you ask? It will still magically appear each week but the content will be repeats.  I will begin with fresh new material August 13, 2012. Starting today you will begin a count down of our 10 most popular posts!

Holding the 10th spot is the Guest Blog by Jenna Rayburn.  Enjoy! It IS fantastic.

OMG!  (as in Oh My Goodness)  You HAVE to read this post by Jenna Rayburn and you MUST start following her blog!  This gal is one of my favorite go to people for great and creative therapy ideas!!   She has made  my list of (insert angelic ♫♪♫ sound here) "SLP Goddesses" like Cindy Meeser! 

Jenna is an SLP from Ohio working with preschool and elementary speech kids.  She has all the alphabet soup at the end of her name making her qualified to work magic ;) She is bubbly and fun and one of the sweetest gals you could ever meet.

When I read her blog on how to take Pinterest images and create your own picture boards for therapy activities, I knew I would have to share that with you because it is too good to miss!!  I thank God for creative people like Jenna.

Used with her permission here's her recent blog post.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Turning Pinterest Boards Into A Therapy Activity!

If you follow me on pinterest, you might notice I use it A LOT. A few weeks ago PediaStaff started creating boards with pictures to be used in therapy. They made boards with action pictures, pronouns, problem solving, inferencing and concepts. As soon as Heidi emailed me and told me about them, I knew I could adapt them for speech therapy on the ipad. I figured it would be way more entertaining than printing them all out! About the same time, I won an app called TapikeoHD. After playing with it for a while I realized it was perfect for the PediaStaff pinterest boards. Let me show you what I came up with! 

The app I used is called Tapikeo and available at this time for $2.99 in the app store. Tapikeo allows you create your own audio-enabled picture books, storyboards, audio flashcards, and more using a versatile grid style layout. Check it out for yourself in the itunes store here

 First I opened Pinterest on my ipad and decided I would make an activity working on labeling verbs. I opened their board for actions words.

  Then I saved the pictures to my ipad by holding down on them to save. 

 Next you will head on over to the app and start a new grid. When you click on the empty grid square you will get a screen like this. If you want text to accompany your photo/audio (and I did because I want to support literacy skills!)  you can type that in at the top. I type " The boy is ___." Then select 'browse' to add the photos you just saved to the ipad. Then select record. For my grid I saved my voice reading "The boy is." When I use it with younger students, all they need to do is name the verb. For older students working on full sentence generation - I can turn the sound off and they are responsible for developing the whole sentence. 

Once I finished adding all my cards (it took me about 5 or 10 minutes) the board looks like this. 

When the student clicks on one of the pictures, it expands to fill the screen and the audio/visual joins the picture. This is when my students identified the verb or created a new sentence!  

There is also an 'e-book' setting where the app transfers your pictures into more of a slideshow like setting. I kept mine on the grid formation so I could work on receptive language skills at the same time. I had the students pick their picture a few different ways: by following directions with spatial concepts, by answering WH questions, or by listening to clues and making basic inferences. 

These boards are easy to make in the app and PediaStaff has done most of the work finding all these great images. What other topic boards would you like to see PediaStaff create?