Isolating “Er”

By Pam Marshalla

Q: I have read your R book and have taken 2 classes from you, but I am still struggling with student with persistent R distortions.  She has the most success producing vocalic R (car, ear, air, tire) but not “Er” all by itself.

This is a very common problem that many SLPs have. How does one obtain an isolated “Er” when the child has it in a vocalic position attached to other vowels?  I usually help the client like this–

  • Take a word she can say with a correct vocalic R–– like CAR.
  • Then have her prolong the vowel–– Caaaaaaaaar.
  • Then have her prolong the vowel and the R–– Caaaaaaarrrrrrrr.
  • Then have her say it again, and as she holds the R, tell her to turn her voice off and then back on.  She will say–– Caaaaaaarrrrrrrr––rrrrr.
  • Then have her do this many times to obtain a sequence of Ers–– Caaaaaarrrrr-rrr-rrr-rrr-rrr-rrr.

The client simply needs to learn to repeat what she can already do.  Tell her, “Keep your tongue in the R place, don’t move it… Say it again… and again… and again.  This will isolate it into Er.

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