Articulation Therapy Ideas

  • The following Articulation Therapy Ideas were posted to the mailing list GRNDRNDS. Since it is a public mailing list, and does maintain an archive, the ideas posted are not "copyrighted" and are available to the public. To make it easier, I have extracted the ideas listed by these creative clinicians. Perhaps they can adapted by clinicians and student clinicians working with children with articulation disorders and looking for therapy ideas.

    This page has been translated into Polish

    From Jackie

    We play a lot of:

    I also do a lot of giving a reinforcer for every two or three correct responses as we go through the cards: I also make a speech book and then staple the games onto the pages so they can practice at home.

    The main thing is to make sure that the playing of the game isn't so involved that it gets in the way of trials.


    From: Lauren

    Put and Take....

    Cut construction paper into small squares, maybe 36...on an even number of cards write, PUT 1, PUT 2, PUT 3, TAKE 1, TAKE 2, or TAKE 3. (you can color code the words for little ones who can't read) Give each child 2 stacks of artic cards, one to be called a PUT stack, another to be called the TAKE stack. Each child will turn over one of your squares. If the card says PUT 2, child moves 2 cards from the PUT stack over to the TAKE stack (after saying it correctly of course). The object of the game is to empty one stack. It sounds more complicated than it is. I think it's fun, easy to make and the gives the children opportunity for drill.


    From: Carol

    I do some easy craft activities with my little ones-things like adding leaves to trees, or making it seasonal like pasting eyes, etc. on a pumpkin. Often I hide the piece that they will paste under one of two stimulus pictures and they have to choose which one--it puts the stimulus word in a longer context, ie., "Is it under the___".

    I also make my own puzzles-basically take a picture with their sound, cut it into pieces and they put them back together. Then, we can talk about the "snowman" or the "snowman's face" as they work on the puzzle.

    Other activities I do:


    From Christiane

    I pick anywhere from 4 - 10 target words for a half hour session, draw pictures on a piece of paper, then drill the words with mirror and all the little tricks (I also have a puppet with lips, teeth and tongue, and have kids manipulate articulators on the puppet I got the puppet - it remotely resembles a frog - at a rummage sale - it was one of those with a big mouth like the muppet puppets, but it's not Kermit. It had soft fabric around the mouth - voila lips. And then I just sewed in a tongue and teeth out of felt. The teeth I strengthened with Elmers glue - soaked the fabric and let it dry.) - often combined with gross motor kind of movements, such as stamping on the picture every time the kid says the word - in imitation or spontaneous use. Then I move on to providing a frame for the word (either sentence of phrase), with the kid filling in the word like in a cloze test, e.g., it was time for bear to take his _____. Then we use the words to draw, write and retell a story, with the child participating depending on the linguistic level practiced. Variations include using a story that I already have and having the child draw and retell the story. Kids get to take their stories home and share them with their family.


    From Sherry

    I have a puppet called the "Speech Pillow" which I received as a gift. It is a big round face made of fabric. It has removable lips (they velcro on), teeth (not removable) & a big tongue which you or your clients can put your hand in so you can manipulate the tongue. It was a gift so I'm not sure exactly sure how much it was (maybe around $30??)-Nancy Renfro Studios in Austin, Texas- 1-800-933-5512 to order- again, it's called the "Speech Pillow". It's a great puppet!


    From -Trish

    I absolutely LOVE "Listening for Articulation All Year Round" by Linguisystems. 1-800-PRO IDEA.

    It's a great program for seasonal activities and it has games that you can make by photocopying the masters from the manual. GREAT STUFF!!!


    From Laura

    Get your hands on "Achieve for Phonology" by linguisystems. This has lots of hands on activities for little ones and work sheets to use as you drill with other students. I use crazy crayons and markers and bright pens to spice up worksheets and this does busy the little ones as you drill others. And as they sit they get the auditory bombardment of the others responses.

    I also use beanbags to toss on cards...and chips to place under cards...and they LOVE money too. Soooooo many ideas I can't put them all here. Write with any more questions at my address.


    From Jigna

    1. Put cards in a bag. Have client close eyes, pick a card, and name it.
    2. Bowling: clip cards on clothespins and line up (like bowling pins). Have client roll ball and name the card he/she knocks down.
    3. Hopping: place cards face down on floor (or under shaped cut-out construction paper). Have client name the card he/she hops next to.
    4. Mail cards: use a toy mail box and have client name each card as he/she mails it.
    5. Games: use any sporty games (e.g., basketball, football, baseball). After each turn, have client pick a card and name it. If named correctly, gets another turn.
    6. Create a road with cards placed at various places on the board. Client names the card he/she stops by.
    For minimal contrasts:
    1. memory
    2. ask questions (e.g., if working on final consonant deletion): make a stack of cards with final consonants and a stack without final consonants. Pick a card from each stack and make up a question. For example, "Can a moose go moo?"
    3. present a minimal contrast pair and describe one from the pair. Have client identify and pronounce the correct word. If correct, client gets both cards.


    From Ursula

    I make a spinner with the different parts the kids must collect to create something (i.e., "r" rabbit, I have the ears, nose, whiskers, etc.,.) and the children can spin and practice artic at the same time (ex. "I need the rabbit's whiskers") Not only is it fun for artic but you can also modify it for language, pragmatics or whatever!


    From Robin

    I am one of those clinicians who has little fondness for games. I prefer cooperative/interactive play, reading, writing and conversing. As such early on in my career II used a homemade puppet...not as sophisticated as your adapted one...to teach articulation. Now I just do anything the child enjoys and interject the articulation therapy as part of the activity. Sometimes with particularly challenged children I will use a game as a distractor. At this point in my career however, pretty much all I need is speech communication to find the way to work on articulation. It may be just my way of saving myself from something I never enjoyed even as a child, namely "games" . I'd rather put on a play or paint or picture or read a book to/with a child. Just how I am.


    From Celeste

    I use a literature based therapy approach with almost all of my students. For artic, I choose a book I like and think the students will enjoy. I go through the book and make a list of all the words containing the target sounds. I then make cards for these words. We read and talk about the story. For older students, as we read each page I let them find the words that have their sound. We use the vocabulary cards to play games, (Memory, Go Fish, a board game, or any activity you can think of). You can also ask questions about the story and have the students respond with their target words. As you can see, not only do you get lots of artic practice, but you can target language and literacy as well. It helps link therapy with classroom activities because it helps with word recognition and reading skills. The students also like to take turns playing "teacher" and "reading" the book to the group. I let them sit in my chair and use my pointer as they read. Even though they may not yet be able to read, they can retell the story in their own words.

    I have found that using this approach to therapy rather than drill increases carry-over. The students are practicing their speech in more meaningful contexts. There is a book I love that I can't remember the name of right now and it is at school. I think it is Articu-lit. I know you can get it from Super Duper. It follows this approach. Someone beat me to writing it!! Anyway, it has target words for most of the sounds from about 25 popular children's books. It also has blank vocabulary cards, and a game board to copy that goes with each story. It also lists other activities as well as some language activities for your language students. It's a great resource to get you started.


    From Leslie

    I use computer programs as the basis for artic therapy (once the child can correctly produce the target sound in a word.) For older artic students who can read, I use programs with simple repetitive vocabulary (e.g, Oregon Trail from Learning Company, Carmen San Diego USA by Broderbund, or Supermunchers from Learning Company) and have them work on correct pronunciation for words with the sounds they are working on. For non-readers, I can use Carmen Sandiego ,Jr. Detective (by Broderbund) which requires no reading and I let the student name the pictures with their sounds. Most kids love playing the educational computer games. They are learning new vocabulary and new facts as well as getting artic "drill".

    Another method I sometimes employ with readers is to have a child make a computer picture with graphics containing his sound. Then we write a colorful story together using these words. I usually use Blocks in Motion with the Land, Sea, and Space module (Don Johnston), but Kid Pix, KidWorks 2 or any other graphics programs should work. The child has lots of opportunities to read back the story and share it at home with family and with teachers.


    From Laura

    I love my little mailbox. I also use various containers that "eat" chips. I have a frog with a slot on his head. A garbage can that open with a mini footpeddal, etc...


    From Katy

    From my perspective, there are two factors that have not been directly addressed.

    1. Regardless of the activity, articulation tx is much like physical tx in that the specific motor behavior becomes automated only with numerous trials. In other words, the number of attempts at production must be substantial to change a motor behavior in a reasonable length of time. I try not to have less that 50 responses in a 20 minute session.

    2. Because we do not spend much time talking in individual words, I try to spend very little time at that level. Many of the activities presented in response to this question stressed the production of single words. I think we need activities which require sequenced production. The sequences must ultimately be produced at a "normal" rate of speed if the child is to use the target in spontaneous communication. In other word, time spent on the phrase "my soup" (/s/ as target) should require /maisup/ rather than the separation of the two words.

    In my opinion, there is a great possibility that games will reduce the efficacy of therapy by preventing the above emphasis. I simply use tokens. I hold the number of tokens that I feel represents the appropriate number of responses for the session. The tokens are placed in a container following each response. When the tokens are all in the container, the child gets a few minutes to "play", pick out a sticker, etc. If I find that I have selected more tokens than are reasonable for that session I slip some into the container when the child is not looking. In that way, the child always "finishes" that which I have required. I have found that children soon learn that the faster they go, the quicker they get to play. They never figure out that I begin with more tokens as they get better. Furthermore, because the "drill" has the potential to be boring even though it is the most efficient way to change articulatory behavior, the child is quite cooperative because he/she can "see" the contract (tokens) at the beginning. In that way, the child senses some control (getting rid of tokens quickly) and knows that I, as the adult, can't make them engage in the drill indefinitely.


    From Judy Kuster

    A Collection of Aprroaches to the "R" Sound


    last modified October 21, 2012