Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Guest Post: Incorporating Touch Cues into Speech Therapy

I'm sure you've all seen Speech Buddies making the rounds on some of your favorite blogs.  Well, did you know that they  have their own blog?  Here's the link:  Speech Buddies Blog.  I've found some cool ideas on there and I'm pretty sure you will as well!  One of the writers from the Speech Buddies Blog, Holly, has written a guest post for me to share with you today!  

[source: prweb.com]

We all know the saying- “seeing it is believing it”. Well for teaching speech sounds, the same is often true -you have to see it to articulate it. For many children, simply saying a speech sound out loud isn’t enough information to help them repeat it themselves. Children have to learn the correct placement of their articulators and how to produce sounds, often in a stepwise process. One technique for facilitating speech sounds is to use what are called, touch cues. Touch cues are a type of tactile cue, a technique involving the hands to show placement or highlight the part of the face being used to make a specific sound. Tactile cues are nothing new, and in fact a highly effective, evidence based practice that underlie the principles of Speech Buddies and the PROMPT program (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets). While both programs have their own specific principles, touch cues in general can be used during play and other speech and language based activities with relative ease and just your hands and face.

For little ones, in particular, touch cues can provide a more visible and salient gesture. During play, they can help highlight individual sounds that go along with the toys and actions in a game or activity. For example, while saying “mat” (e.g., “lets sit on the mat”) a clinician might model the “m” lip position by using their middle and index fingers to push the lips together and produce the sound. These can serve as teaching tools or visual reminders. If the child leaves off a sound, for example, “ma” instead of “mat,” the clinician might use a visual tactile cue to prompt them for the “t” sound at the end of the word.

Clinicians should make the sound and show the cue on their face, and if tolerated, encourage the child to use their hands on the mouth of the communication partner to feel the way the mouth moves during production of the targeted sound.  Also if tolerated, provide the cue on the child’s face. Remember to model and use them consistently.
[source: speechymusings.com]

The cues themselves vary slightly according to different treatment protocols but generally follow that common gestures are used to show sounds that produced in a similar manner. If a sound requires a burst of air from the mouth, the cue will emphasize that. Some common examples include:

/p/: Place your index finger in vertical position touches both lips and then bring finger away from the lips while release air

/b/: Similar to /p/ but the finger does not move because no burst of air occurs

/m/: Place the tips of your index and middle fingers on your lips horizontally. Some only use one finger in the horizontal position under their lip.

/n/: Place your index finger next to the nose to cue nasality

/k/ and /g/: Place your index finger horizontally across the upper throat and tap your index finger up as you form the voiceless /k/. Use index and middle finger for the voiced /g/ sound to show that this sound uses the voice. .

/t/ and /d/: Place finger on the left or right side of the mouth near Cupid’s bow, which is above the lip. Use one finger to tap while you produce the voiceless /t/ sound and show two fingers for the voiced /d/ sound.

Post written by Holly F.

I want to take a minute to thank Holly from Speech Buddies for sharing this information with us today!  Also, I wanted to share that I do have a parent handout available on Visual/Tactile (or Touch) Cues that you can download for free HERE.

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