I can't understand my child, Speech therapy in Oxford, Chinnor, Wendover, Stoke Mandeville, Garsington and surrounding areas.Learning Speech Sounds

First Stage - Listening Games

The child needs to be able to distinguish between the target sound and the one that´s replaced it. For example, child says "dun" for "sun", and therefore will use pictures to represent "s" and "d" sounds. Adult will say those sounds randomly, and child has to point to the one he hears. This is not to do with hearing but with whether he can distinguish between the sounds.

This is a very important stage. It´s very hard for the child to move on if he can´t distinguish between the sounds.

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Second Stage - Producing the single sound

This is just practising the sound on its own - e.g. "s". This will be very easy for some children. Others will need lots of adult models before they can do it. Some sounds are particularly hard - e.g. "k" or "c". When this is the case, it is very important to not put pressure on the child to say the sound, but instead to let him hear you doing it - over and over again!

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Third Stage - Blending the target sound with a vowel to make a "silly" word

This is the pre-real word stage. So we might try blending "s-oo"/ "s-ee"/"s-ah". This is all done with lots of games and using pictures to represent all the sounds. The aim is to get the 2 sounds blending very smoothly but, to begin, there might be a gap between the target sound and the vowel - this is ok.

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Fourth Stage - Saying really short words!

When the child is able to blend the 2 sounds really smoothly (as in the Third Stage), we move on! Using pictures of the words and games, practise short words - e.g. sea, sock, sun, sand. If the child is struggling, say it with him and emphasise the target sound. Don´t get him to try too many times if it´s really difficult for him - in such a case, it´s useful to go back to the Third Stage.

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Fifth Stage - Short phrases

When the child is able to say short words, we move on to putting the word in a short phrase - e.g. big sun, blue sock, red saw. Colouring in the pictures is a good activity at this stage. This is a hard stage, and the child will often need help to know when he needs to say the target sound, so he needs lots of adult modelling!

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Sixth Stage - Putting the target word in a sentence

When the child is able to use short phrases with target words, we encourage him to then think of a sentence to use the word in - e.g. "the sun is in the sky".

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Seventh Stage - Using the sound in other places in words

When the child can do all of the above with the sound at the beginning of the word, we might then need to go through the technique with the sound in the middle or at the end of the word - e.g. mouse, grass, glasses, pencil.

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