Sometimes kids need more feedback than just the sound in order to produce it correctly.  This is especially true for kids with hearing loss or kids who have had a lot of ear infections and now has significant articulation errors.  (side note:  When a child has an ear infection, there is a lot of fluid in his/her ear.  Therefore, the sound is dampened.  At that time, their hearing is similar to listening to someone talk under water.  Therefore, you may want to talk more slowly, a bit more loudly - don't yell, and make sure to face the child when talking)  

Does this seem familiar?  Yesterday's post of TVAK should be ringing a bell.  :o)

When a speech therapist studies sounds, we study them in groups.  These groups of letters will have similar characteristics.  Knowing the groups helps in knowing what kind of extra feedback you can give a child.  For example, if the sound is voiced (you actually use your "voice box" to produce the sound), then your throat will vibrate when the sound is being produced.  Have your child put his/her hand on your throat and show them the difference between a voiced sound (d) and an unvoiced sound (t).  

Below are tricks that I use.  Find the sounds you are working on with your child to know which extra steps you can take.  There may be more than one source of feedback for each sound so read the whole list first to make sure you are giving your child the most opportunities to say the sound correctly.
  • Voiced sounds (b, d, g, j, l, m, n, r, th - as in 'there', v, w, z, zh):  Touch hand to throat to feel the vibrations of the larynx (aka voice box)
  • Unvoiced sounds (ch, k, f, h, p, s, sh, th - as in 'think'):  Touch hand to throat to feel the lack of vibrations
  • Plosive (p, b, k, g, t, d):  Place hand in front of mouth to feel puff of air.  You can also hold a tissue in front of your mouth and the puff of air produced from the sound should move the tissue.
  • Nasals (m, n, ng):  The sound actually travels through your nasal passage instead of your oral cavity (mouth) and so you can place your hand on your nose (close to your cheek) to feel the vibrations

If you use your tongue to produce the sound and the tongue is visible, make sure to show your child where your tongue is placed and have your child look in a mirror to copy you!  (example: l)

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