Month: June 2012

Low Tone and Mild Artic

By Shanti McGinley

Q: My teen client has low tone, mild articulation problems, problems with intelligibility, and imprecision of articulation (interdental lingua-alveolars, F/Th, and distorted R). He has a slack jaw and forward tongue posture at rest. His tongue appears flaccid. Cognitive skills are okay. I went to your class called 21st Century Articulation Therapy and am trying to figure out which methods to use to address low tone in speech. Also what should I do about the tongue thrust? In terms of…

Michelle Obama’s “Shtreet” for “Street”

By Shanti McGinley

Q: I have a 21-year-old client with above average intelligence who says “shtreet” for “street.” He also says “undershtanding” for “understanding” and “shtretch” for “stretch.” He seems to do this on purpose. Any comments? It has been my observation that a certain segment of the population––especially those under 25 years of age––uses an “Sh” for “S” substitution in “Str” clusters. The result is “shtreet” and the other examples you have given above. Even Mrs. Obama does this. In the 1970’s, this…

Differentiating “Articulation,” “Oral Motor,” and “Phonology”

By Shanti McGinley

Q: I still cannot seem to explain to colleagues the difference between articulation, oral motor, and phonology. Can you help me one more time? This is the line of thinking I use. It may help you explain these ideas to others–– Movements are used to make phonemes. Phonemes are used to make syllables. Syllables are used to make words. Words are used to make phrases. Phrases are used to make sentences. Sentences are used to make paragraphs. Words, phrases, sentences,…

Teaching the Spanish R

By Shanti McGinley

Q: Do you know how to teach the Spanish R? I believe there are YouTube videos of Spanish-speaking people teaching this sound. I would search around there for ideas. I have had to teach a trilled R to only a few people in my career. Here are two different approaches that have worked for me–– Bilabial Raspberry Have the client produce a bilabial raspberry. Then have him produce a raspberry with the front of the tongue pressing firmly up against…

Exposed Upper Teeth

By Shanti McGinley

Q: One of my high school students has a tense upper lip, which interferes with correct productions of P, B, and M, although she can produce labials in structured tasks.  She also chews with her mouth open and makes smacking sounds.  The resting position of her mouth often reveals her teeth, and her tense upper lip is noticeable. How can I improve her articulation as well as her looks and eating habits? Your client needs a program of orofacial myology…

What does blowing have to do with speech?

By Shanti McGinley

Q: At what age should a child be able to blow bubbles or a horn? My two-year-old client, who I suspect has apraxia, cannot blow and he is very hard to understand. We have no data on when children should be able to blow bubbles or a horn.  However, I have been observing the blowing skills of young children for 40 years.  I have observed scores of children trying to blow out their birthday candles and my experiences can be summarized…

Articulation Therapy Model

By Shanti McGinley

Q: You said something in a class recently that I did not write down, and I wish I had. It was about the relationships between oral motor, phonemes, and phonology in therapy. Can you repeat it here? I think you are referring to this statement: Movements create the phonemes that are used in phonological patterns to express the language for use in conversation and literacy.  

Pierre Robin Syndrome

By Shanti McGinley

Q: My two-year-old son has Pierre Robin Syndrome and cleft palate. He had oral surgery at 6-days of age, and again at 9 months. He makes a few sounds like “Eh-eh-eh,” “Mmmmm,” “Baba,” and “Papapa.” There has been little if any vocal play until just recently.  Receptive skills are good and he signs many words. Can the syndrome be a cause for his delay? I need suggestions. Yes, the syndrome is most assuredly the cause of the delay. Surgeries and…