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8 Basic Steps to Great Speech Sounds! - Step 1 - Isolation Level

Do you wonder why your child can say "s" "s" "s" but then when you are talking about his sunglasses it doesn't sound like an English word at all? More like "thun-glath-ith" or maybe "tunglatit."

Or maybe she can say her "g" sound when you have her repeat "g" "g" "g" but then when she asks for her "goggles" there is not a "g" sound in there!

Speech sounds develop in stages or steps. Going from "g" to "Mom! I can't find my goggles" would be like trying to step up 5 stairs at once! Yikes!

So, here are a the steps, one at a time!

Isolation Level

Isolation is the step where you say just the speech sound. Don't add a vowel yet!

Some sounds are easier to say in isolation. The stretchy sounds like "ffffff" or "sssssss." The explosive sounds are a little harder but you can do it! "B" not "buh." "K" not "kuh" or "kay."

We want to make sure placement is correct. Lips are where they are supposed to be. Tongue parts are touching where they are supposed to go.

I love to act this step out! And the kids do, too!

There are some therapists who follow programs that indicate a good action for each sound, which is fine! But I find that if we just think about the sound and what we associate with it, we can come up with some very motivating motions! And very personal to the child!

The "K" can be the Stomping Sound.  If you bring your flattened hand down to the table to make a dinosaur stomp that would be a great action! But if your little one doesn't like dinosaurs, you could stomp like an elephant. Or stomp like a polar bear. Or stomp like a large alien. Or anything else that stomps!!

Use your imagination! Say the sound in isolation over and over and over to yourself while you figure out what actions are associated with it!

(a few more hints: "sh" reminds me of sprays out of a spray bottle, "f" reminds me of the sound of wiping a cloth on the table or ice skates scraping on ice, "k" reminds me of the sound of a light switch flicking on and off)


Go through the alphabet eliminating the vowels and you'll end up with most of the sounds we work on in Speech Therapy... but there are a few more!

A -  B  - C  - D  - E -  F  - G  - H  -  I -  J  -  K  -  L  -  M  -  N  - O -  P  -  Q*  -  R  -  S  -  T  -  U -  V  -  W  -  X*  -  Y  -  Z

But don't forget the sounds where two letters make one sound:



th! (and there's two of these... quiet "th" like in thumb; and voiced "th" as in "them")

ng! (yep, that's one sound and it's not "n" plus "g" is its own sound!)

and how about Z (as in measure or treasure)

*Some letters in the alphabet actually represent two sounds: X (is "k+s") and Q (is "k+w"). So these are blends and are harder!

As kiddos get older they will need to work on blends:

s-blends like sp, st, sk, sl, etc...

l-blends like pl, sl, kl, etc...

r-blends like pr, str, kr, etc...

So, now you know what sound you need to work on (need help with that? I'm developing a Parent-Speech Screener look for that soon!) and what actions you are going to do for that sound!

Have fun acting out sounds!! Do this for a few minutes each day!

Now, if your child cannot pronounce the sound you are practicing, make sure you are not working on a sound that is too advanced!

Your 2 year old does not need to be able to say the "th" sound! Check out"When Should My Child Say..."to find out what sounds should be mastered by different ages!

But do know: some kiddos produce the sounds at younger ages! There are some 3 year olds clearly saying "s" even though it is a "5 Year Old Sound."  So try out the sound and see if your child makes progress on it!

Struggling Still?

If after a little bit your child is still struggling, reach out to a certified Speech Language Pathologist in your area! They can let you know if it is developmentally appropriate to struggle with the sound or if it's something that might need more professional intervention.

Not all kiddos need speech... but some do!

I do not like a "wait-and-see" approach, I'd rather try something while we wait!

Isolation is just the First Step!

But saying the sound in isolation is just the first step. The next step is:  Syllables!! That will be the next post!!

-Lauren :)

Pin this for later!!

SLP teaches how to work on speech sounds at home
8 Basic Steps for Great Speech - Step 1 - Isolation (Just the sound)

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