Building Sounds to Make Words

Helping children build sounds to make words is incredibly rewarding.This illustrates a recent experience I had with one of my students with limited ability to produce sounds. We brainstormed how to encourage positive communication even with limited verbal skills.

Motor Planning Issues – One of my little students has been working on producing vowel sounds and shaping them into words. We have also been emphasizing consonant-vowel (CV) productions and also CVCV. Here are some highlights: 1. This child’s staying power and willingness to try has skyrocketed. Why? because we have chosen motivating activities for speech practice. (ie – Swinging in a blanket onto the couch creates movement as well as excellent eye contact and opportunities for speech practice.)
2. We looked for immediate carry-over. This little one could say, “ah”, so we shaped it into “on” and “off”. Today we heard spontaneous “on” and “off” for turning on the microwave and also as a request to get something off.
3. To build sounds, I often start with vowel productions. For this student I used my vowel pictures (free in my Free Resources page), the Apraxia Kit from Talk Tools help with lip rounding for oh and oo, and vowel combinations to get sounds and words such as “uh oh,” “oo wa,” and “eeya.” This drill has paid off as vowel productions are getting more consistent and “wawa” is now a spontaneous word.
4. I discussed the progression of sound development with a parent. Describing the relationship between sounds has really helped this parent understand the struggle the child has and what makes one sound easier to produce than another.
5. Creating opportunities for a child to produce sounds when playing has been a goal. It is amazing how quiet some children are during play. My belief is that some children are not able to motor plan gross motor movement with oral motor and speech. So while playing with preferred toys, I typically brainstorm with the parent on what sounds would make sense in particular situations. When a child realizes that he/she can vocalize while playing, this increases confidence and verbalizations. He/She is giving himself speech therapy each session.


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