Wildcat Speech News

February 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

How does articulation therapy work?

Articulation therapy is designed to correct the way a child pronounces a sound, because the way we say sounds affects the way we hear them and read them. Correcting a speech sound error takes time. Most kids don't start speech therapy until they're in school, and sometimes not until they're in second or third grade, which means they've had years to practice a sound wrong. For many kids, the first step is learning how to say the sound by itself ("in isolation"). Sometimes they have to work with a mirror to figure out where to put their teeth, tongue, and lips and what to do with their breath or voice. Once a child can say the sound, we add other sounds to it - first syllables, then words, then phrases, scripted sentences, spontaneous sentences, and conversation. This process can take anywhere from a few visits (that's very rare!) to a few years, depending on how difficult it is for the child to learn to make the sound and how often they mispronounce it. In general, it takes about 20 hours of therapy, and even more of home practice, to change the way a child makes a single sound. That's exactly how many hours most of our Wildcats spend in speech during the school year!

Skill Spotlight: Pragmatics

Children with language impairments, especially children on the autism spectrum, often struggle with pragmatics - understanding and using language socially. Without even thinking about it, we participate in hundreds of social interactions a day, sometimes without saying a word! Greeting people and responding to greetings, knowing when to express an opinion or idea and when to stay quiet, knowing when someone is interested or bored, or being friendly or being mean, may all be difficult for children who struggle with pragmatics. They often don't understand the meanings of facial expressions and body language, may interrupt or intrude on others' physical space, may take jokes very literally and be offended, or may say things that hurt other people's feelings without meaning to. In speech therapy we work on learning and applying those skills to help children make and keep friends and navigate the social world more confidently.

February book: Dragons Love Tacos

This month we're reading "Dragons Love Tacos" - but make sure you don't give them spicy salsa! We're working on understanding and using words with multiple meanings, answering comprehension questions, describing things by thinking about their function and appearance, sequencing and retelling stories, and writing invitations including all the important information (who, what, when, where, why). We're learning some great new words, and we also get to talk about cause and effect. When you give dragons spicy salsa, they burp and burn your house down!
Dragons Love Tacos