When to Begin R Therapy

By Pam Marshalla

Q: While I understand that every case is different, as a general rule, at what age do you consider it appropriate to target R when it is the only error?

I have taught R to one- and two-year old children, so I know it is possible to do very young. However each therapist must address this question relative to his or her employment situation. Therapists in private practice often see these kids at 4 and 5 years of age. Therapists in the schools usually have district-wide guidelines they have to follow that restrict them from seeing these kids before age 7, 8, or even 9 years of age.

You will have to do what is best for you and your work setting. Many of the old-time SLPs used to go in the classroom to do “Speech Improvement Lessons.” They would lead the whole class in methods to teach all the problematic phonemes, like L, R, S, Th, F and so forth. One phoneme would be taught per lesson, and it would be coordinated with the reading/spelling curriculum. That way the SLP could see which kids responded well to simple general instruction and which might need individual therapy.

0 thoughts on “When to Begin R Therapy”

  1. My experience with /r/: The preschool speech and language program in our area does work on /r/ fairly young. The defining feature of their decision to work on /r/ seemed to be stimulability. I used to see students at age 7 for /r/. Now, I make my decision based on their level of stimulability and the impact on overall speeech intelligibility. I typically target earlier developing sounds first,

  2. I have started qualifying my kindergarteners for /r/ just this year. I feel the reason I have so many middle schoolers still working on their /r/ is because they weren’t qualified soon enough.

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