If you’re looking for someone to work on your child’s speech intelligibility / speech sounds I’m certainly not the person for you! Whilst it’s something within my experience there are lots of more skilled Speech & Language Therapists with a passion for this area of expertise. Yes I’ll do some functional work on intelligibility with my children with Autism but it’s not something that’s ever attracted me.

Despite this on my regular free SLT coffee morning slot I do get lots of questions re speech intelligibility and, outside a comprehensive Speech and Language assessment, I am happy to offer the following general advice.

When working on your child’s speech sounds there’s quite a lot to consider. Having a SLT trained in PROMPT would be the best case scenario and I can highly recommend Claire of Surrey Speech Therapy.

From a more general advice perspective it’s important to consider (1) which speech sounds your child is struggling to consistently produce; (2) where in the word they struggle to produce said speech sound; (3) developmentally if they should have that sound yet (some speech sounds can be inconsistently produced as late as 6-7 years); (4) what your child is producing instead of the target sound and (5) the wider impact of the speech intelligibility difficulty.

Once you’ve identified which sound your working on (*considering all of the above with a SLT) the order in which you should work on the sound is:

  • Make sure your child can hear the difference between the target sound and another sound.
  • Say the sound by itself “in isolation” (e.g. s).
  • Say the sound with a long vowel (e.g. s + oo; ee; ay; eye; oh) with a slight pause between the sounds.
  • Say the sound with a long vowel (e.g. soo; see; say; sey; soh) with the two sounds blended.
  • Say the sound in a simple word (e.g. sit; sat; soot; sew).
  • Say the word in a small sentence (e.g. I sit there) slowly.
  • Say the word in a small sentence at a typical conversational speed.

(*This is a very very very basic set of speech intelligibility stages!!*).

Right, best get ready for my Wednesday SLT Coffee Morning! Take care and as always do comment and share if you find interesting / helpful!