From the Clinic (February, 2015)

posted May 31, 2015, 12:38 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated Jun 4, 2015, 2:21 PM ]
O. is a smart, fun-loving eight-year old boy whose parents brought him to the clinic due to concern with production of his /s/ sound. Testing revealed that O. used a fronted tongue position when he produced his /s/ which distorted his speech. Hi mother commented that “O. did well enough to be understood most of the time but his lisp was very obvious. He wouldn’t engage in conversation much with people he didn’t know really well.”
Since therapy started, O. has worked very hard on his /s/ sound. His mother commented that “He has consistently improved and the boost in his confidence is great.” He practices each day and his mom often sends video to Rachel to show off what a great job he is doing and how hard he works. Remediating distortions, such as a fronted /s/, can be very challenging for both the Speech-Language Pathologist and the student. Often therapy focuses on finding the correct cuing system for the student. Cueing systems may include tactile cues, such as touching certain places in the mouth and on the tongue; visual cues, such as using a mirror; and verbal cues, such as telling the student exactly where to place their tongue or lips to produce the sound. Visual imagery can also be helpful. For example, when we produce a /s/, the sound is “thin” so we can think of making the air that is used during production of /s/ as slicing through a piece of paper. O. has benefitted from all of these techniques. Another technique that helps O. is using video recordings of his /s/ sound, which he reviews and then tells Rachel what he did well or needs to do differently for a better production.  Using facilitating contexts is also useful. For example, pairing /s/ with a high-front vowel such as /i/ for the consonant-vowel word “see” is much easier to produce than with the low-back vowel /a/ as in the word “saw”. The reason is that the jaw can stay in a relatively closed position with a high-front vowel as opposed to the low-back vowel, in which the jaw must open wide. Open jaw movement can create instability and thus negatively affect the /s/ sound.  
O. is making tremendous progress with his /s/ sounds. His mother noted that “O. knows how to correct himself and can hear himself when he’s not saying things correctly. He is treated with respect and receives a lot of support.” Remediation for distorted productions of sounds can take time. O. is already working at the word level for /s/ at the beginning of words and he is now beginning to work on /s/ at the ends of words. He is a dedicated student and Rachel looks forward to seeing him each week!
His mother deeply appreciates our services. She stated, “It is a wonderful program and the support helps not only O. but the whole family. I’ve been very impressed with the experience and knowledge of the 
therapists.”