Speech and Communication Disorders: Instructional Strategies for Speech Sound Errors

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  • 0:05 Articulation Therapy
  • 2:37 Isolation & Syllable Levels
  • 4:43 Word & Phrase Levels
  • 6:12 Sentence Level
  • 7:06 Reading & Conversation Level
  • 8:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Valerie Houghton, Ph.D.

Valerie holds a Ph.D. in Health Psychology.

In this lesson, we will discuss the seven levels of articulation therapy, using F and T as the primary examples of the sounds that students have difficulty articulating.

Articulation Therapy

There are several ways teachers and parents can instruct students in producing speech sounds, and there are more techniques being developed all the time. However, in this lesson, we will discuss articulation therapy.

Articulation occurs on the phonetic level and is concerned with the act of producing consonants and vowel sounds. Articulation therapy is needed when a student has difficulty producing one or more sounds. Did you know that Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and King George VI of England all had some difficulty with their speech? Not only that, but each one of them sought out therapy to correct their difficulty. The fact that Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson overcame their speech difficulties can be seen by watching any of the numerous movies that they have made. In addition, in the 2010 movie The King's Speech, King George VI is shown overcoming his speech difficulties.

There are many different types of difficulties that a student may exhibit when learning to communicate. For example, they may stutter, incorrectly pronounce vowels or consonants, substitute one sound for another, delete a syllable or add sounds and syllables that shouldn't be in a word. However, regardless of the difficulty in communicating, the techniques of articulation therapy can be applied to any sound that the student has difficulty articulating. For the sake of clarity, in this lesson we will use the letters 'F' and 'T' as primary examples of the sounds that students have difficulty articulating.

There are seven levels to articulation therapy, with each level building upon the next. Since each level builds upon the previous level, it is critical that a student successfully passes each level before he or she can move onto the next. If the student has difficulty articulating the 'F' sound, for example, he or she is taken through each of the seven steps. If the therapy is successful, by the time a student reaches the final step, he or she will no longer have that particular articulation difficulty. The seven levels are isolation, syllables, words, phrases, sentences, reading and conversation.

The seven levels of articulation therapy
Levels of Articulation Therapy

Isolation Level

The first level in the process of articulation therapy is known as the isolation level. Isolation is verifying that the student can make an individual sound. The process is done by observing the student mimic the individual sounds that the teacher makes. For example, the teacher models how to make the 'V' sound by biting the lower lip and breathing out. If the student is able to correctly make the 'V' sound, this means that just by observing the teacher, he or she is able to determine how to manipulate their mouth to physically produce the sound. In other words, they lift their tongue into the right spot in their mouth and breathe out with enough force to make the 'V' sound.

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