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  • Writer's pictureShaina Rafkin

Celebrate the small steps!

As parents its common to wonder why your child is still speaking with speech errors when you've heard them say it correctly in the speech room.

Here's how I explain it to parents. Let's think about teaching someone how to play a sport. I've always wanted to learn how to play tennis. That being said, there are many details that go into learning the sport: learning the rules, learning how to do a backhand stroke, a serve, how to make contact with the ball, how to aim the ball... it's a lot to think about all at once! In fact if I tried thinking too much about how I make a perfect backhand stroke while playing, I would probably trip up and get distracted. The goal of my tennis lessons are to get me so used to moving and playing the correct way that it completely integrates and I don't have to think too much about it. How does the coach help me get to that goal? By taking small achievable steps. First she might teach me the correct motion of a good swing. Then she might have me stand in a good position and send the balls directly to my racket. Once I achieve that, she might aim the ball a little further away from me.. you get the gist.

This is how I like to treat speech sound disorders. I use a strength based approach and work in small achievable steps. I don't expect the child to use their speech sounds correctly in conversation right away. There is a lot for them to learn and it takes time to generalize. By doing this:

-The child learns to be confident that he or she CAN do it.

-Their practice is almost 100% accurate (Principles of motor learning)

-Home practice is easier/more doable.

-It facilitates accurate carryover to conversation.

I know it might get frustrating, but please try not to correct your child when they're not practicing. (Of course, catching them saying it right is always nice 🙂) Try trusting the process and celebrating the small steps!

Contact me for a free consult!


Offering specialized speech, feeding, and myofunctional therapy in the convenience of your preferred location!

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