What Should I Expect in Articulation Therapy?
Many of the parents that reach out to us regarding concerns about their child's articulation. Articulation therapy is popular among private practices as school districts typically do not consider children eligible for speech therapy solely on articulation difficulties. Luckily, we at Theraspeak specialize in this area! We work with everyone from children with one sound error to those with multiple errors. There are a few steps to take before jumping in and we are happy to provide you some insight onto what us speech therapists do.
One of the first things you can expect is an assessment of your child's articulation. This may be done by first analyzing your child's oral structures and their movement. We then typically have your child look at a set of pictures in a booklet while we note the errors we observe. After this, we listen to your child's speech during spontaneous play or conversation, depending on his or her age. We do this to observe his or her speech in its natural state without any elicitation. Once we have gathered some background information and completed an assessment we will then begin to analyze. We typically start by ensuring that your child presents with a true articulation disorder rather than a phonological disorder or another speech-sound disorder such as dysarthria or childhood apraxia of speech; once all of these are ruled out we compare our findings to research norms. We do this to compare the child's age in relation to his or her error. For example, we most likely wouldn't work on "r" with a three-year-old but definitely would address that sound with a seven-year-old. This is not a determining factor on whether or not they are appropriate for therapy but it is helpful when creating a treatment plan.
Here is a picture of a standardized articulation chart we typically share with parents:
Once the appropriate targets are selected we will create goals to address achievement of these sounds. In articulation therapy, a substantial amount of "drill" work is necessary for success. Meaning your child will have to repeat the same sound in isolation, words, and eventually phrases many times to achieve mastery. This can be redundant but we always do our best to make it fun! Based on your child's interests, attention abilities, and level of motivation is how our therapy will be conducted. Some children prefer to color at a table where others require more movement and rather toss a ball around. Each child we see is unique and our treatment plans are made to reflect each individual child.
Keep in mind - us therapists cannot do it alone! Carryover work is crucial to success. We provide families with strategies to practice at home and activities to do during free-time. A few extra moments of practice per week increases motor memory and does wonders.
Don't wait! Address your child's articulation errors sooner than later. When waiting, children become accustomed to producing sounds their own way and as they get older, they can be more challenging to fix. Once speech therapy is complete, our children feel confident and empowered in their speaking abilities as all children should!
Reach out to us for a free phone-consultation and to help your child achieve his or her goals!