Articulation Therapy

We have been working so hard on Fiona’s articulation in the past several months.  But even after having Fiona listen and pronounce a sound or word over and over again she still can’t grasp it.  She replaces two consonants “n” and “h” for other consonants that she struggles with.  Examples: playground (hup-pah), diaper (hud-yah), pretzel (hubble), turn (hunch), I love you (I nuh noo).  She can pronounce a “p” but usually at the middle or end of a word/sound and never at the beginning.

Fiona’s Auditory Verbal therapist recommended that we schedule an evaluation with Sharon Wexler at the Institute of Myofunctional Studies.  Sharon specializes in oral/motor/articulation therapy.  Which basically takes a look at the mouth muscles to see what’s going on.  Fiona and I met with Sharon this morning.  She was fantastic and even met with us for 3 hours.  It was a very interesting discussion and she was very thorough in identifying and explaining everything to me.

Sharon believes that Fiona has dysarthria which is a condition in which the muscles you use for speech are weak or you have difficulty controlling them.  Fiona has a reverse swallow (tongue thrust) and not much lateral (horizontal) movement in her tongue.  This also could be a reason why Fiona used to choke on her food often.  She isn’t using her tongue muscles correctly in regards to eating and speaking.

Fiona could possibly have apraxia as well but we won’t know that until later on.  I’m not going to even touch that since we aren’t sure if she even has it.  But if you are interested in learning more I’ll share this link.

So it totally explains why Fiona uses the “n” and “h” sound to replace consonants. Sharon explained that these two consonants don’t require much tongue strength at all.   It also explains why Fiona has a difficult time pronouncing certain sounds.

Fiona will start going to The Institute of Myofunctional Studies for 30 minutes a week.  She will continue with AV therapy for an hour a week at AVC.  At TIOMS she will practice strengthening her oral/motor/mouth muscles and also work on articulation.  Sharon’s goal is to have Fiona pronouncing all English sounds correctly before Kindergarten.  We will work on the intelligibility of Fiona’s speech first.  Then we will work on her swallow pattern later on.

Sharon doesn’t seem concerned with Fiona’s speech in the long run.  This is just another step we need to take to get Fiona where she needs to be.

Our new daily/hourly motto is “Fiona will get there.” 

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8 thoughts on “Articulation Therapy

  1. Flo

    She will get there. She has a mommy that is very dedicated to her learning what she needs to learn.

  2. Sheri Vitkus

    Wow. Evan did not have this problem with tongue strength. He has apraxia. Just an FYI. There are sounds that may not come until close to 7 years of age. I wish I still had all the paperwork on all the different sounds and when they typically come to children. It would ease your concerns some. If I find it I will scan it in and send it to you. It even discussed sounds that would be used in place of other sounds as a child’s speech develops. Also, Evan’s speech specialist used peanut butter and a mirror to help him learn where to put his tongue in his mouth. That really helped him. I purchased a large handheld mirror and we used that at home. We would compare where our tongues were together so he had a visual. Also, it is a long process but after 9 years of speech Evan has a Bostonian accent for someone living in the South. He still is unable to make the “r” in the middle of his words but he learned to communicate. With the speech specialist and your daily work Fiona will be successful. It just takes daily work and for Evan 9 years. I hope Fiona’s progress comes faster. She really is such a cutie!

    1. Eliza Isham Post author

      Very interesting Sheri! We start therapy this Friday. I’m ready to get started! It’s been a very frustrating couple of months for both me and Fiona. I’m glad we are getting more help! It was a hard week to process the fact that Fiona needs more help. But I feel better after seeing Sharon. As our wonderful AV therapists Lauren mentioned, this is what early intervention is all about. Getting her caught up sooner than later!

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