If you are like most SLPs you hate working on /r/.
What if you could love it or at least not dread it?
Learn how to use the FREE program Let's Hear It For R! and you will be on your way to better relationship with this sound!
Let's Hear It For /R/!
Let's Hear It For R! Hierarchy: Download this from on Teachers Pay Teachers for step-by-step organization for each of your kids. Use it for the following:
- To keep track of your students' progress
- To keep yourself on track with the program and the steps
- To show parents their child's progress and progression through the program
- To show parent WHY their child does not qualify for services (i.e., Because they are already at sentence level, etc.).
There is now an APP to download to your phone/iPad!
Norms: See in Norms Section under the Therapy Materials for SLPs tab (if you cannot find it there, check the main Therapy Materials page as it takes time to migrate everything over to it's new location).
Artic Tips & Placements
We all have certain ways to elicit sounds and sometimes there are kids we see that just do not respond to them. This section will deal specifically with tips on common articulation sounds gathered from message boards, Facebook, personal experiences, and anyone that wants to suggest a new way they were able to get a child to produce that difficult sound. If you have a picture, send that too as the visual makes it even better! The more we share, the better we all become!
Ann Kulichik taught a four year old how to say /f/ by having him put a cotton ball in paper cup and then had him put the cup over his bottom lip and bite, then blow. It was the first time she got a real production out of him. She also put a cotton ball in the cup, and had him put the cup under his chin, while blowing down over the bottom lip. This makes the cotton ball jump up and hit you in the chin. He liked this very much! Be sure to check out Ann's website at www.akspeech.com
Block the alveolar ridge! One of my kids, instead of holding his tongue down with the tongue depressor, moved it to the alveolar ridge and BLOCKED his ability to turn /k/ into a /t/ and /d/ into a /g/!!!!!!
No section on articulation would be complete without reference to /r/. Of course, there is an extensive section dedicated to /r/ above AND below and you can watch the On-Demand Webinar Let's Hear It For R! any time to learn how to implement a structured program. Here are the two placements I use in therapy. If you have ever wondered what each of these placements look like, I have my daughter demonstrating each in the pictures below (she was in the webinar).
I typically start with bunched as this is the most common position for most people**. However, I will switch to retroflex if I don't see good progress with the bunched placement.
**Bunched variants are more common than retroflex variants (Boyce et al., 2009; Mielke et al., 2010).
Tongue is pulled back and the tip disappears. The sides should be touching the upper side teeth (Kyla's are not touching in this picture, but it is a good start). The tongue is essentially smiling.
Tongue tip is up and you should not be able to see it. The trick with this placement is that the sides of the tongue still have to touch the upper back teeth. The tip of the tongue should NOT touch the roof of the mouth. Middle of the mouth placement is crucial here as too far back yields a glottal and too far front yields an /l/ or an /l/ like sound associated with each /r/ if the tongue flips down too fast. Her placement for this position is even better and I found out as we have gone through therapy that she is a retroflex /r/ kid.
Placement Ideas for R
- Have the child look in the mirror to see where their tongue is when they
try "ray?. Tell them to smile! Use a flashlight.
- Look at your tongue and see how you make /r/. If you use the bunched, let
them see your tongue and where it is in your mouth.
- Tell them their tongue is going to smile inside their mouth.
- Have them speak with only their tongue in the back of their mouth?this is
really funny and you can have them say ?My name is ______? while only
moving their tongue. It?s hard, but important to show them they are only
going to use their tongue to make /r/, not their lips.
- Have them try to bite (gently) both sides of their tongue at the same time.
This shows them how their tongue needs to be wide across the mouth.
- Explain the tongue will be in the middle of the mouth (meaning both vertically
- Use a flashlight (mini maglites work great here) so they can see the back
of their tongue. They can have great placement in the middle of their mouth,
but if the back of their tongue drops when they try to produce /r/, they
will only see it with the flashlight.
- Have another student in the group that has the correct placement teach
the other kids. It works wonders sometimes when you are not having any
- NEWEST: A parent gave me this one during therapy: Make your teeth
brushing face! And then we added kind of like a Pirate growl or
mean voice into it to keep the lips apart. It really worked!
- Have the child point the tip of the tongue up to the roof of the mouth.
- The sides still need to be touching the upper back teeth as the tension in
the tongue, not the type of /r/ placement you are using, is what makes /r/.
- If you are not getting a decent /r/ (that is not a /w/) you need to either
have the child move the tongue more to the middle or more to the back of
the mouth. Be careful: Too far back will yield a glottal and too far front
will yield an /l/.