Tuesday, January 24, 2012

From "Wabbit" to "Rabbit"

Hello!  Teaching /r/ can be tricky indeed.  How come some kids go months without a successful /r/ production and some have perfect /r/ productions on day #1???  So frustrating (for the Speech-Language Pathologist and for the kid who still says "wabbit"  after months of speech therapy).  Since every kid is different, I alter my teaching technique case-by-case.  For /r/, I make sure to use Mr. Mouth  (get your own here) since the inside of my actual mouth isn't easily visible for modeling.  I usually emphasize that "your tongue makes the /r/ sound, not your lips."  Then, I shape /r/ from /i/ ("eee").  So, /ri/ (ree), /iri/ (eerie), and /ir/ (ear) are the syllables I start with.  During these first few elicitations, I really look at HOW the client is producing /r/ (or /w/).  I alter my teaching based on where the breakdown is occurring.  Maybe their tongue is being "lazy" or maybe they are making "kissy lips". So I will instruct them to "get their tongue up in the back" or "keep their lips in neutral position."  Neutral position is obtained by biting down on your back teeth and then slightly opening your mouth.  Have a look at Grace learning the /r/ sound:

Fortunately for me, Grace picked up on /r/ immediately!  FYI:  This does not happen often!!  But when it does, pat yourself on the back for being such an amazing SLP. 

I used to teach /r/ as the "smiling sound"  but have since found that technique to do more harm than good.  The kids were making really tensed-lip /r/ sounds that sounded extremely unnatural.  What are some of your tricks? 

Talk it up!


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