Mirror Work to Improve Articulation
Using a mirror to practice articulation is great way to provide visual feedback for students. Model the targeted sound and then have the student imitate you while looking in a mirror. Have the student identify tongue placement and labial movements. If you don’t know where to start click here to purchase an awesome resource for using mirrors to practice sounds.
A tongue depressor is a great tool when working on /k/ and /g/ sounds. Have the student hold down the tip of their tongue with a tongue depressor and try to articulate /k/ or a hard /g/ sound. The back of the tongue will rise and produce accurate tongue placement to produce the sound. It can also be used to touch parts of the oral cavity to show students where to place their tongues for different sounds. For example, touching the alveolar ridge with a tongue depressor to show where the tip should go for “L”.
Straw to Improve Airflow for Articulation
A simple straw is a tool that can be used to target airflow when a student has a lateral lisp. A lateral lisp is when air flows out the sides of the mouth instead of through the front of the mouth when producing sibilant sounds. A straw is a helpful tool to identify where the air is coming from. If the SLP holds a straw to the side of the child’s mouth and hears air flow through it, the student is misdirecting airflow and the sibilant sounds, such as /s/ will sound “slushy.” Have the student practice redirecting air flow through the front teeth by holding a straw to the front of the mouth and listening for the air to flow through it. If you haven’t used this technique before watch this video for reference.
The whisper phone is a really neat tool to help the student improve articulation. The student softly produces a word into the mouthpiece and hears their voice amplified into their own ear 10 times more clearly than they normally would. This auditory feedback will help the child improve articulation by deciphering if they are producing the sound accurately or not. This is also a great tool to have the student practice on their own when it is not their turn during group therapy sessions.
Another fantastic articulation tool is the Jumbo Mighty Mouth. I use this tool to show students the anatomy of the mouth so that they can better understand where their articulators need to go to produce certain sounds. It can be difficult to show students their alveolar ridge or how to move their tongue for targeted sound production. The mighty mouth provides awesome visual support to help it all come together in the child’s mind.
Click here to read another blog on other fun speech therapy ideas, using a beach ball!