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In the consultations of speech therapists, there are questions frequently repeated by parents and even by teachers: Why are there children who mispronounce "r" and "that"? Why can these sounds present difficulties for the little ones? It is no coincidence that these two sounds are always the most common in terms of speech errors and the last to be achieved at the level of children's repertoire. The reason is the great control of the language that these two sounds require.
Unlike many other sounds in our speech repertoire (p, c, g, d, t, n, l, etc.), these two sounds require very specific control at the tip of the tongue. It is something very precise and mature at the level of mobility, placing the tongue skillfully close to the teeth and with enough softness to let more or less air pass, vibrating getting the "erre" or letting the air pass gently and friction getting the "that".
From home, we will be able to know and identify a possible difficulty in these sounds when when we reach 5 years of age we still perceive one of these three typical processes of simplification of the speech of the smallest:
Lack of sound that is difficult to pronounce. Example in the “erre”: rrosa -… osa. Example in the "ese": soup - ... opa.
Exchange of the difficult sound to pronounce for an easier one. Example in the "erre": rrosa - gosa / slab / rose or in the "ese": soup - zopa / chopa / tsopa.
Approach to sound, although not perfectly clear.
If from home, even applying the exercises that we will show you below, difficulties persist beyond three months from the beginning of their training or frustration and awareness are observed on the part of children, it would be important to be able to put ourselves in the hands of a specialist speech therapist in speech.
Next, we propose six important dynamics to do at home. Always advising that all of them can be done in a game context. Some of them are specific to each sound, and others can be useful for both sounds, since both "er" and "ese" have common characteristics.
1. To train the “r” sound, the following are useful:
Farting can be a good start for children to experience maintaining a vibration similar to r, when the sound is not yet coming out. First we will start with lip farts, since they are usually easier for them and, later, on the tongue.
Using vibrating utensils, such as an electric toothbrush or specific facial vibration devices, can also facilitate imitation.
2. To train the “ese” sound, the following are useful:
Playing to lengthen the sound (sssssss), instead of pronouncing it as a short sound, will help to be aware of its characteristics and be able to control its softness much better.
They are often not aware of how they are producing the sound, as that sound is normal to their ears. Recording them lengthening the sound or in syllables (sa, as, se, es, etc.) can make it easier for them that when listening to themselves they can be more aware of their own mistakes.
3. To train both sounds, "erre" and "ese", are useful:
- Lingual práxias
All praxias (movement of the tongue, jaw, or lips) that require proprioceptive and tongue-tip awareness training can help facilitate the gradual execution of sound.
- Time of words
When the sound in isolation is little by little giving more results, it will be time to look for word lists to be able to train them and generalize them in their usual vocabulary, such as the frog game.
You can read more articles similar to Simple exercises for children who mispronounce "r" and "ese", in the Language category - On-site speech therapy.