Before /r/ Can Emerge – Early /r/ Therapy

By Pam Marshalla

Q: I have a severely apraxic sixth grader who omits /r/ in blends. Is it appropriate to teach her to use /w/ instead in order to increase intelligibility? For example, can I teach her to say “bwick” for “brick”?

I always take the liberty of teaching w/r in these cases. The /w/ holds the place until the client is ready for /r/. This is exactly what many typically developing children do in the younger years.

I also add a schwa (ə) if necessary. So I teach “brown” as “buh-wown.” This is especially helpful if the client has difficulty sequencing phonemes. It breaks the CC down into CV-CV, a simpler motor pattern.

Then, when the client learns /r/, we might continue using the schwa and pronounce the word as “buh-rown” for a while before going on to “brown.”

These steps allow you to train for /r/ blends in small steps that the client can handle.

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.