Empower Guest Blog From Angela Jordan, MA, CCC-SLP
If you are a school-based therapist, you definitely have students on your caseload with goals to produce the dreaded /r/ sound. I say “dreaded /r/ sound” because it can be a very daunting sound to tackle and correct. There are many times that the student has practiced and practiced, and you as the therapist have stood on your head trying every trick in the book but that /r/ just will NOT correct.
Fear not, I have some articulation tips and strategies that have helped my students have success along the way! I hope that they become helpful to you!
Let’s start with some tips…
Articulation tips for /r/ sound
- Make sure that the student knows HOW to produce the sound. Teach him/her that the muscles make the sound, not the bones! This will make it easier to get buy in!
- Along with the first bullet point, have the student tell you WHY he or she wants to correct the /r/- do this first and do this often!
- Assess /r/ in ALL contexts. There are many vowel /r/ combinations that are left out of standardized assessments. This way you will know what goals to write!
- Start thinking about dismissal and plan for it with the student/family/teacher right from the get go.
- I do not always achieve 90-100% accuracy before dismissal. If the student is able to use strategies with independence, and the sound is not affecting that student academically, it is time to dismiss!
Now on to some tricks for working on that /r/ sound…
Strategies to improve /r/ sound
- Retracted /r/- I typically use this teaching method, and have found it successful. Have the student do the following: lips don’t move, jaw moves only slightly, and tongue is in the back of the mouth with the sides elevated. This is also called the Butterfly Effect. The student can feel the tongue on the top molars.
- Bite Blocks- These are helpful in creating an open mouth where the jaw and mouth do not move. You can use tongue depressors, wine corks, etc.
- I have some of my students talk like a ventriloquist. It is fun, and it gets the articulators where they need to be!
- Shape /r/ from /ee/
- Say /arrr/ like a pirate
I hope that these tips, tricks, and strategies for the /r/ sound have been helpful to you! Please reach out if you have any questions or want to bounce ideas! These have helped my students, and I wanted to share them with you!
For more therapist-approved activities to keep your children learning, check out E-Therapy’s Teletherapy Activities section.
About the Author
Angela Jordan, M.A. CCC-SLP has been a speech-language pathologist for 11 years and currently provides teletherapy services through E-Therapy. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her two daughters, husband, and two cats. Angela has accrued a wide range of experiences in her career, including both pediatric and geriatric. Something she has learned along the way that has helped her in her career in learning to make a difference is to always meet the person where he or she currently is. She says, “There have been many times that I come into a session with a plan, and that plan just isn’t working. It is so important to talk to your students and parents, find out what they like, find out what is going on in their lives, and really build that rapport. Relationships are key, and without one it is very hard to move forward! Once you meet that student where he or she is and move from there, therapy is so much more effective.”