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 have a client with prevocalic voicing. He substitutes b/p, d/t, and g/k in initial position. Do you see this much? What suggestions do you have?
Prevocalic voicing is probably one of the most common phonological error patterns in young children, especially those with motor speech disorders. There are many ways to address this:
1. We can use minimal pairs to help the client hear the differences between the phonemes and to emphasize the way the meaning changes with the phoneme change. Use word pairs like: poor-bore, pit-bit, tip-dip, two-do, coo-goo, come-gum, etc.
2. We can teach the client about their “motor” (the voice), and I have them learn to turn their motor “on” and “off.” Do sequential “motor-on” and “motor-off” exercises like this:
Teach the client to keep the airflow going. Say, “Don’t stop the air!” as he transitions from voice-on to voice-off. Have the client feel his neck at the larynx to feel the vibration of voice on vs the lack of vibration for voice off. He is learning to turn voice on and off in sequence while keeping the airflow going. The client has to learn to hear this as he is doing it, so encourage him to listen to himself and to you.
3. Another way to help clients use initial voiceless phonemes is to teach them to insert an /h/ between the C and the V. For example, have him pronounce “Pam” as “P-H-am.” The H allows the client a continuous flow of air from the P to the vowel. It gives him move time to turn his voice on during the transition from the consonant to the vowel.
4. Another way to stimulate for voiceless phonemes is to abandon your work on initial position and concentrate on the final position. I always do this and have had much success, so much so that I usually teach the following words as first words:
5. Another way to facilitate voiceless consonants is to start with the S-clusters. I always start with final Ts cluster as a plural morpheme. Starting with final S-clusters brings in the voiceless element before the client can handle initial voiceless consonants. The final S can be stimulated in the following morpheme forms:
|Hats, cups, bikes
|The cat’s paw. The bike’s tire.
|3rd Person Regular Tense Verb Marker
|He eats pudding.
He walks quickly.
|Contracted copula to be
|It’s red. What’s that?
|Auxiliary to be