SLP Resource of the WeekI found this articulation rating scale at The Learning Curve. Michael's /f/, /v/, /s/, and /z/ are all habitually produced interdentally. When I ask him to close up his teeth to keep his tongue behind his teeth for the production of /s/, he locks those teeth together successfully, and then all the air escapes laterally. The sound of his /s/ production is much sharper if I just let him produce it interdentally. In fact, if I'm not looking at his mouth, I cannot tell it from an /s/ produced in the traditional fashion. You'd think it would sound like a /th/, but instead it comes out as a crystal clear /s/ sound.
So, I tested to see if he could hear the difference between a sharp clear /s/ and a mushy /s/ production with a lot of lateral air escape, and he could tell the difference when I do it. But I have difficulty giving him feedback. It is certainly an improvement if he keeps his tongue behind his teeth, but that isn't good enough. The visual rubric of the articulation rating scale might be just the thing to give him feedback that is more meaningful.
Ava this WeekWe got the book The Seven Chinese Sisters by Kathy Tucker a while back. The children and I thoroughly enjoyed it. During the first reading the children were captivated and just the right amount of scared when the dragon snatched the baby sister. The book ended up in Ava's room and she's been requesting it nightly. Her second-favorite part is when the baby's first word is "help". Her most-favorite part is when the baby shouts "No!" at the dragon.
One morning this week, as I was downstairs in the kitchen early making breakfast for the children I heard Ava's voice coming clearly through the monitor. I knew exactly what I was hearing when I heard her saying, "No! No, no, no dragon." I stood there motionless hovering by the monitor straining to hear every word as she flipped pages reading the story to herself. It made me so very happy.
Weekly MichaelI wish I could capture this moment in parenting time. Michael has been a delight lately. I love him and enjoy him more every day. He is fun to be with. He's having true conversations with his sister. He is delivering appropriately timed, genuinely felt thank yous. He loves to sing, tell stories, create art, and build complex creations from legos. All of his songs/stories/art/creations have elaborate back stories that are actually pretty interesting if you just take some time to listen. And it is so simple to make him happy in return. All he needs is a little undivided attention. He absorbs the positive attention and then continues happily on his way.
Ava's and Michael's Weekly Home Therapy NotesI've continued to work with both children together and we're finding a new rhythm. We work for 20-30 minutes a night (4-5 nights/week). Right now I'm pushing the s-blends and l-blends pretty hard. Our sessions are pretty intense and I probably get a minimum of 100 productions per child per session. I usually just drill. I tried my speech caterpillar just one time. It slowed us down too much. For the most part I stick to drill because my children will tolerate it and it allows us to get more speech productions in during the session. I'm going to stick with it as long as it works.
Ava began working on blends three weeks ago. At that time, they were almost impossible for her. She tried and failed to sequence the motor planning over and over until I finally found the right combination of simplifying the production and cueing that worked for her (very slow production, separate the two consonants of the blend, emphasize the second consonant of the blend auditorily, use tactile cueing to emphasize each consonant of the blend). When I switched blends it took her several attempts to reboot her system for a new consonant (sp instead of sm for example).
Since then, she has made amazing progress. She can produce the blends and switch from one blend to another with only light to moderate cueing. She still needs a slight separation of the two consonants in the blend. She also does better with a visual cue that emphasizes that she is trying to produce a two-part blend. And that's it. With those two aids, she's at about 85% accuracy in direction imitation of single CCVC words.