This advice-column-style blog for SLPs was authored by Pam Marshalla from 2006 to 2015, the archives of which can be explored here. Use the extensive keywords list found in the right-hand column (on mobile: at the bottom of the page) to browse specific topics, or use the search feature to locate specific words or phrases throughout the entire blog.
Q: I am seeing a child who substitutes K for T. He can click his tongue, can touch the alveolar ridge adequately with his tongue, and he understands the tongue placement for T. But he is not able to raise his tongue tip to the alveolar ridge during his attempt to articulate T. He has good phonemic discrimination, too.
The lingua-alveolar consonants emerge when the jaw begins to move up-and-down, not when the tongue moves.
So begin by teaching the client a gross T with the tongue relatively immobile and the jaw moving up-and-down in a big movement pattern.
You didn’t mention other phonemes but if he doesn’t have D, start there instead. D usually comes in during the babbling stage in the CV as the jaw pumps up-and-down, whereas T usually doesn’t come in until words, and it emerges usually in the final position once the jaw begins to stabilize.
Work on basic babbling sequences with Da-da-da using big up-and-down jaw movements. The tongue will bang upwards against the palate/alveolar ridge as the jaw pushes it up and pulls it down. This will be the beginning of D in the CV.
Then go to T in the final position (e.g., “cat,” “light”).
Then go to initial T. I would teach initial T with big jaw movements, and even with the tongue-tip protruding slightly. Once T is emerging in this gross way, you can begin to refine it by stabilizing the jaw and teaching the tongue-tip to move independently.