It’s Friday!!! This week we will talk about articulation. Articulation simply means the sounds you make and how clearly you make them. Some parents think their child’s speech errors are adorable… and they are. Some parents become stressed when they don’t understand their child’s speech, and they may or may not need to worry. Children don’t often start talking completely clear at 2 years of age. The term intelligibility means how much you understand of your child’s speech.
As you can see from the chart above, there is a lot of growth in intelligibility that happens between 2 and 5 years of age. This is related to the growth in sounds that are produced correctly. Children don’t start out completely intelligible because they take time to develop all their sounds. See a printable chart of articulation development here.
Now you know what you are looking for, but what should you do if you think something is wrong. This is when you contact a speech/language pathologist for an evaluation. I briefly described what to expect in this post here. Your therapist will guide you through the evaluation process and therapy. Therapists often provide homework to help work on sounds at home.
5 Easy Articulation Activities
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1. Read Books
Reading books is always a go-to activity for speech and language development. They often repeat throughout the book, so the child will hear lots of repetition of sounds. Find books that have your child’s target sound. Try making your own book with your child. You can cut out pictures or draw them yourself. You can take photographs of objects with your child’s speech sound, and easily put them into a cheap photo album.
Singing songs is always a helpful activities for young children. Pick a favorite tune and make up your own words to it that include targeted speech sounds. Singing the alphabet song and it’s many variations works on all the sounds. A favorite album of mine is Time to Sing because the songs are much slower giving children time to sing with the music. Sounds Like Fun has a great alphabet song that I used with my clients on a daily basis. I made this book here that has the signs, pictures, and words of each letter of the alphabet.
Talking to your child is important. Tell them what you are doing. Describe the things you see. Provide good models of their speech sound as often as is natural for you.
4. Hide Objects
Finding objects or pictures that have your child’s speech sound in sand, rice, beans, or anything you have available. It’s a fun sensory activity and it works on speech sounds when your child labels what he found. Kinetic sand is also great for this. My favorite by far is the beach sand variety. You can find that here.
5. Dot Daubers
Kids love markers. My favorite are dot daubers. It’s the right amount of messy for everyone. You can find them at craft stores or here. It’s great to use the daubers to color in dot pictures. The child can say their target sound in a word before each dot. You can find pictures online and print them out, or but a coloring book of them here. A great pack of four is here and here.
Derby’s role for articulation will hopefully be as a motivator. The child can work on 10 articulation cards and then give Derby a treat or pet him. He can also be a listener as the child reads stories that have their target sound.
What’s your favorite activity to do when working on articulation?