This year has seen me working with an older elementary student diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech when he was young. From what I understand, intelligibility was incredibly poor in his early years of speech therapy, but he has clearly made vast improvement! Now, as a fifth grade student, he is perfectly intelligible and, according to his teachers, just sounds a little “different.”
Although this carryover stage is exciting, sometimes working on overall intelligibility can be even more difficult than the discrete training of speech production. It’s easy to feel as though we’re just listening to them talk and making judgement calls, rather than providing instruction.
With that in mind,I started looking through my own products, as well as those I’ve used in the past, to find those that have been most helpful in this fun, but difficult stage of articulation therapy.
Improving Overall Intelligibility was one of the first products I bought for this goal. It includes sound-specific work, but, most helpfully, auditory bombardment and rating scales to get students truly involved in their own speech.
My Syllable Stress Freebie was created when teaching that odd little factor of syllable stress proved nearly impossible. Syllable stress is primarily auditory and thus difficult to communicate to students. By emphasizing stress in terms that are familiar (“big” and “little”), i’ve been able to make this skill a little more tangible.
Moving on to some of the other many suprasegmental aspects of speech production, I whipped up this quick little cue card to serve as a reminder for students who have been taught strategies to make themselves more intelligible, but sometimes still need the reminder. My Cue Cards for General Intelligibility freebie provides a scaffold for all of those connected speech tasks.
Less a product than an activity, one of my go-tos is barrier games. Even with older students, guessing games remain pretty popular and provide great, immediate feedback regarding how much of their speech is truly understood. Store bought games like Guess Who and games thrown together using your favorite articulation cards make for an easy, effective therapy session.