Tag: Intelligibility

The Schwa… Then What?

By Shanti McGinley

Q: My client can produce only the schwa––“Uh.” He is 3-years-old and pretty smart. But he cannot imitate any consonants or vowels at all. What can I do? This is what I would be thinking about––– Teach him to prolong the sound he has––the schwa. And teach him to tolerate your hands on his jaw. Once he can prolong his schwa and tolerate your hands, move his jaw up-and-down while he is vocalizing. If he can prolong his sound while you…

Teach the Feature First

By Shanti McGinley

Q: Do I understand your advice? […] When working on producing the ‘hissing” sounds, my focus should be on the airflow and not the correct sound production. For example, the client can’t say Ch but is able to get a lot of airflow on her attempt when probed. So I should reward her when she says Ts instead. Is this correct? My experience and research on normal development demonstrates that children learn MANNER before they learn PLACE features.  Thus, stridency…

Adding Frication to a Client’s Phonological Repertoire

By Shanti McGinley

Q: My client has no fricatives/affricates. I have been working of F for about three months, and he is just not getting it. This is how I work:  If I cannot get one particular phoneme when a client has none in the class, I revert back to stimulating the class or distinctive feature. Instead of teaching one particular phoneme in the class or with the feature, stimulate for them all. That way the client learns to recognize the similarities between…

Pervasive Question Inflection

By Shanti McGinley

Q: Your Vowel Tracks program was great and the child I am writing about now has all his vowels. His language is improving but most staff cannot understand him because his prosody is drawling, singsong-ish, and inflection is always up at the end of each statement like a question. Any thoughts about how to approach this? The interesting thing about this rising intonation pattern used on statements is that I hear many young people use this today. They say things…

Low Tone and Mild Artic

By Shanti McGinley

Q: My teen client has low tone, mild articulation problems, problems with intelligibility, and imprecision of articulation (interdental lingua-alveolars, F/Th, and distorted R). He has a slack jaw and forward tongue posture at rest. His tongue appears flaccid. Cognitive skills are okay. I went to your class called 21st Century Articulation Therapy and am trying to figure out which methods to use to address low tone in speech. Also what should I do about the tongue thrust? In terms of…

L and R with Tonsils/Adenoids Problems

By Shanti McGinley

Q: I am seeing two elementary age brothers with a history of enlarged tonsils and adenoids that are not significant enough to warrant surgery according to the ENT. Both are difficult to understand because of their resonance issues. We are working on R and L with limited progress. I don’t know where to go with them. Speech is starting to impact reading and writing. A child with mild-to-moderate upper respiratory problems and minor articulation errors is one of the most…

Robotic Speech

By Shanti McGinley

Q: My 7-year-old male client has a robotic speech presentation that interferes with intelligibility. He has low tone in the trunk and poor breath support. Do you have suggestions? Usually a robotic voice makes an unintelligible child more intelligible. So maybe your client is using the robotic presentation to help him be more intelligible. In other words, maybe he knows (unconsciously) that when he speaks with equal stress on each syllable more people can understand him more often. He may…

“Pencil Talking” for Rate Control

By Shanti McGinley

Q: Do you have any suggestions for slowing the rate of speech in an elementary school child? Rate is all about the number of syllables produced per unit of time.  Therefore focus on syllables.  This is what I do.  I call it “Pencil Talking”–– The child and I each hold a pencil with a good eraser.  We engage in general conversation, or we talk about speech.  We tap our erasers on the table to mark each syllable as we talk….

R and Diphthongs

By Shanti McGinley

Q: My client can produce R in all kinds of words, but he still sounds funny on words like “Player” and “Hour.” Can you help with this? I have not heard your client, of course, but the word examples you gave make me think that he may be having trouble with R after diphthongs. Phoneticians tell us that the presence of a diphthong actually causes a glide to be inserted, and your client may not be doing that.  This is…

The King’s Speech was Dysarthric, Too

By Shanti McGinley

This opinion paper was originally posted as a downloadable PDF on my website’s resources page. I am slowly formatting the articles over there for posting to this blog. This post was authored on April 29th, 2011. Download the original PDF here. *** The King’s Speech was Dysarthric, Too An analysis of treatment procedures reveals that fluency was not the only issue Discussions of the Oscar winning movie, The King’s Speech, have focused on the problem of stuttering and its impact…