Learning “Or” – Final /r/

By Pam Marshalla

Q: I have a child who can successfully produce R in all positions except in the post-vocalic position following O, as in “four,” “pour,” “door,” or “or.” Any advice you have would be great.

If the client produces a truly great R in all other ways except the sequence following O, then this is a matter of helping him maintain a good-sounding O and then transitioning successfully to the final R he already can do. Here’s how I would do it:

Separate the O and the R completely. For example model “Door” as “Do-(pause)-R”. Have the client imitate it this way, with R being treated as if it were a separate syllable, and a pause occurring between the syllables. Make sure he is saying the O-part correctly, and the R-part correctly.

Now have the client say the same thing, but ask him to “Keep your voice going” as he moves from saying “Do” to saying “R.” The key here is to make sure the client is not compromising the O or the R. He can mess up the acoustic quality of the “transition sounds” between the two, but O and R have to stay clear and correct.

It probably will be necessary to slow down and exaggerate the transition between O and R. Stretch it way out so the client can hear what’s happening. You are trying to help him hear how to make the transition while maintaining the integrity of both O and R. He will distort the transition at first, but it will get clearer with a little practice. The final skill is to make the transition faster once it is really good.

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