Refining R

By Pam Marshalla

Q: My 12-year-old client can produce an R, but he hesitates on either side of it. For example, he says, “I’m [slight pause] ready.” This pause is for a fraction of a second. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions?

This is an example of one of the limitless number of ways clients can mess up a perfectly good R.

Your client can produce R, therefore his problem is not with R at this point. His problem is in the transition movements. He cannot transition from other phonemes into R, and from R into other phonemes, without stopping his voice and airflow.

Focus on the transition movements in simple syllables of CV and VC construction. Teach your client to keep his voice going during the switch. I do this by having my clients prolong the transition movements. Have him make the transition movements very, very, very slowly as he prolongs his voice: Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrr and Rrrrrrraaaaaaahhhhhhh.

Work on prolonging the syllables so that the client can hear the continuous flow of sound between phonemes as he makes oral movement changes from one phoneme to another. Tell him to “keep your voice going,” and, “don’t stop your voice.” Teach him to hear where he is shutting off his voice, and teach him to keep it on.

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