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: In my therapy with kids who have the stopping process, I typically start with S-clusters and S in the postvocalic position. It seems they develop the idea of “fricative-ness” more easily this way and, from there, they more easily go on to prevocalic S. I find that starting with prevocalic S often leads to a lot of frustration because they learn “sock” as “stock,” and so forth. Can you comment on this?
First, we have such a mess in dividing sounds into groups called fricatives, affricates, stridents, and sibilants. What confusion. I propose that we call Th, Th, F, V, S, Z, Sh, Zh, Ch, J, and H with only one term –– “The Hissing Sounds.”
So let’s talk about stimulating the Hissing Sounds when they are absent.
My experience is exactly the same as yours. The Hissing Sounds come in much more easily at the ends of words ––
- I usually begin with word final Ts –– Hats, cats, lights, boats…
- Then I move on to postvocalic voiceless Th, F, S, Sh, CH –– Bath, Off, Bus, Fish, Ouch
- Then I move on to postvocalic S-Clusters with P and K –– Books, Cups…
- Then I go on to word-initial position S-Clusters with Sp, st, sk, sm, sm, sl, sw –– Spoon, star, skate, smoke, snake, sweater, slide
- Then I go to the prevocalic sounds Th, F, S, SH, CH, H –– Think, Four, Sock, Shoe, Choo-choo, Hot
But of course this is just a plan in my head. I always probe for stimulability and go with what the client shows me he/she is ready for. So that means sometimes I abandon the whole thing and just work on H… or Sh… or Ch… or F… of S… in whatever position is working for the client.
FYI, I began to reorganize my presentation of these phonemes in this way after having read Smith (1973). This book is a detailed month-by-month analysis of one child’s developing phonological system. Smith studied his own son and found that stridency emerged first at the end of words, particularly after he had learned final T. I began to apply this idea to my clients and found it to be a much better approach than introducing hissing at the beginnings of words first.
Also, I heard Barbara Hodson speak in 2006, and she said the same thing. She said that if a child cannot get initial S, we should abandon it, go to final S-clusters, and then to final S. And eventually we should return to initial S.
- Hodson, B. W. (2006) Enhancing Phonological Skills and Metaphonological Skills of Children with Highly Unintelligible Speech. Seminar Handbook. Bellevue, WA: Belay Learning. March 17.
- Smith, N. V. (1973) The Acquisition of Phonology: A Case Study. London: Cambridge.