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: My 5-year-old client substitutes N for L. I cannot seem to help him make the sound oral and not nasal.
These are the types of things I would try…
Use a Vowel
- Have her open her mouth wide and say “Ah.”
- Then have her prolong “Ah” for 5 seconds or more.
- Then have her continue to say “Ah” while she lifts and lowers her tongue-tip up to the alveolar ridge about 5 times.
- Tell her, “Don’t try to say L. Just lift up the tip of your tongue, and then lower it again five times.”
- It will sound like this: “Ahhhh-L-Ahhhhh-L-Ahhhhh…..
Use a Tube
- Take a tube that can stretch from her nose to her ear.
- Have her listen to the lack of sound coming through her nose when she says “Ah.”
- Then have her say “M” and have her listen to the nasal sound.
- Then teach her that she is letting L come out her nose.
- Have her hold the tube from nose-to-ear to hear this as she tries to say L.
Pinch the Nose Closed
- Have her hold her nose to inhibit the air from coming through.
- As she drives the sound to the nasal passageways, it will be blocked at the pinched nostrils.
- She will notice the pressure build-up that occurs in the nasal cavities.
- Tell her not to do that.
Use a See-Scape
- Place the nasal bulb of the See-Scape into one nostril.
- Have the client say N. The movable piece will go up.
- Have her say a sound that she says with good oral airflow, like S, and have her observe that the piece does not move. Repeat this with several other oral sounds.
- Now have her try the same with L.
Use Tissue Paper and a Tube
- Hold a tube at the nose, and have it stretch to several tiny pieces of tissue paper on the table.
- Have her sniff out the nose to make the tissues fly.
- Have her produce M and N to observe how the tissues fly.
- Now repeat with non-nasal sounds, like S, T, and K. She will notice that the tissues do not fly
- Transfer the same activity to the glides––W, L, Y, R.
Use the Fingers to Feel Vibration
- Have the client place her fingertips on the sides of the nose.
- Teach her how to feel the nasal vibration that occurs with M, N, and Ng.
- Have her feel the lack of nasal vibration that occurs with oral sounds.
- Extend the experience to all the glides––W, L, Y, R.
- Focus on L.