FOUR-YEAR-OLD GIRL SPEAKING “JIBBERISH”
INTRO: Simply Speaking provides free speech and language screenings for the community in settings such as Head Start. We then evaluate and treat kids on site so working parents don’t have to worry about making appointments and taking off work to bring their child to speech therapy. A four-year-old girl was referred to Simply Speaking by her Head Start teacher because they couldn’t understand what she was saying when she tried to communicate with them. They said it sounded like, “jibberish speech.”
EVAL: We performed a complete speech language evaluation which includes articulation, receptive language, expressive language, fluency, voice, motor speech planning, and oral motor testing. Our testing revealed she was exhibiting a lot of articulation errors as well as phonological processes. Phonological processes are “concepts” of speech that children haven’t learned yet, such as saying, “tat for cat, tate for cake” which are both examples of the child not understanding the “concept” of using the back of their tongue.
THERAPY: The therapy approach for this disorder is teaching the child that they can use the back of their tongue to make words. It’s a harder therapy for the child to understand because it’s a “concept” which is an abstract thing for the child but once they get the “concept” then it clears up A LOT of their speech errors all at once. We began our phonological processes therapy learning “where” the back of our tongue was and how we can make it move. This took a few months but soon the child was moving the back of her tongue up and down which ultimately lead to producing her /k,g/ sounds.
RESULTS: She now says complete sentences with the proper tongue placement for the proper production of words using her new “concept” and says “I want cake for my birthday!”
EIGHT-YEAR-OLD BOY WITH “LAZY TONGUE”
INTRO: An eight-year-old was brought in to Simply Speaking by his mother because he was being teased by other kids because he was unable to make his /r/ and /l/ sounds correctly. He was saying “goowu” for “girl” and “bawoon” for “balloon.”
EVAL: I visited with him for a little while and it was obvious he was upset that he couldn’t say his words correctly and the other kids were making fun of him. He wanted to fix his speech and I said let’s do it! I gave him an articulation test as well as an oral motor exam to rule out any anatomical problems with his mouth that would prevent him from being able to make his sounds correctly. There were no structural problems with his oral cavity but he did have somewhat of a “lazy tongue” which would explain the errors in his speech.
THERAPY: We did a lot of motor speech exercises to make his tongue achieve the correct placement through various speech drills, as well as, PROMPT therapy to stimulate the nerves under the base of the tongue for correct tongue placement and function, hand signals to remember tongue placement during /r, l/ production, and visual therapy using a mirror to “see” the sounds. He was very motivated to fix his speech as stated above and therefore he did his speech homework that was sent home every week!
RESULTS: His /l/ sound is wonderful now and the /r/ is coming in nicely. His mother states that she can see an improvement in his attitude toward school and seems much happier and more confident.