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 attended your R seminar and have been having great success. However, I do not know what to do with R-Blends. I can’t seem to get Tr, Dr, and so forth.
That is a great question, and represents a topic I never seem to get to in my seminars. I also did not describe it very well in my R book, so here is the best way I have been able to describe what I do to date ––
Think of the R blends in three categories according to their oral motor patterns:
- Pr, Br, and Spr
- Tr, Dr, and Str
- Kr, Gr and Skr
This is how I do it:
1. Start with the Easiest — Br
Have your client put his tongue into position for R, say R, and prolong R. Now, while he is prolonging R, have him say B. It will sound like Rrrrrrrrrrrrrbrrrrrrrrbrrrrrrrrrrbrrrrrrrrr… Have him say “Brown” like this: Rrrrrrrrrrrbrrrrrrrrrr–own. Put special emphasis on prolonging the R. Go to other Br words.
2. Go to Pr and Repeat
Have your client put his tongue into position for R, say R, and prolong R. Now, while he is prolonging R, have him say P. It will sound like Rrrrrrrrrrrrrprrrrrrrrprrrrrrrrrrprrrrrrrrr… Have him say “Proud” like this: Rrrrrrrrrrrprrrrrrrrrr-oud. Put special emphasis on prolonging the R. Go to other Pr words. Then transfer this same skill to Spr words.
3. Go to Gr and Repeat
This will be a little more clumsy, but it will sound like Rrrrrrrrrrrrrgrrrrrrrrgrrrrrrrrrrgrrrrrrrrr… Have him say “Grow” like this: Rrrrrrrrrrrgrrrrrrrrrr-ow. Put special emphasis on prolonging the R. Go to other Gr words.
4. Go to Kr and Repeat
This also will be a little clumsy, but it will sound like Rrrrrrrrrrrrrkrrrrrrrrkrrrrrrrrrrkrrrrrrrrr. Have him say “Crown” like this: Rrrrrrrrrrrkrrrrrrrrrr–own. Put special emphasis on prolonging the R. Go to other Kr words. Then transfer this same skill to Skr words.
5. Go to a Different Procedure with Dr
Go to a different procedure with Dr. It probably will be much harder for the client, and it will sound awful at first. Have him “Say R” by starting with D.
Do you remember the L-to-R slide we talked about in class? Do the same thing with D. Make it a D-to-R Slide. Have him put his tongue in position for D, but tell him DO NOT SAY D. Tell him to start saying R as he releases his tongue from D position. It is not Duh-rrr. It is dRRRRRRR. He is releasing his D as his tongue is already en route to producing R. Work on “Drown” like this: dRRRRRRR-own.
6. Go to Tr
Repeat the steps of #5 in the same way. Then go to Str words.
Practice all these yourself to get the hang of it without the client there. This will go more smoothly if he is doing a “Back R” (thus the main reason many therapists prefer teaching the Back R). But if all he can do is a “Tip R”… well that’s what you are stuck with. Hope this makes sense and hope it helps.
- Marshalla, P. (2004) Successful R Therapy. Mill Creek: Marshalla Speech and Language.