Utilizing Visual Supports in Articulation Therapy

Speech-language pathologists go bananas for visuals. I haven't met one SLP who, when questioned about using visual supports during therapy, says no. I must shamefully admit that I love using visual and verbal supports in therapy with students. Even though visual supports are extremely important in allowing students to learn a skill, we know that these supports should eventually be faded so that the student can be successful independently from visual or verbal cues/prompts. 

Many of my students work on phonemes like /f/ and /s/. I get the occasional kindergartener who may be struggling with "sh" or "th", but that's pretty rare. It is also during kindergarten when students are learning how to blend sounds to create words. I have found that many of my students, while they know that an /f/ says "fffffff", they struggle with determining when they need to produce the /f/ during a word.

I have created visual supports for my articulation students. I have used these supports over the course of the school year, and I'm shocked at how well my students are responding! Take a look at how I use these supports by watching the two videos below.

Student utilizing the "feather" visual support to aid in producing /f/ in isolation as well as in the initial, medial, final positions of words.


Student utilizing the "snake" visual support to aid in producing /s/ in isolation as well as in the initial, medial, final positions of words.  


So you can see that two different students are using similar visual supports for different sounds, and they are able to produce their sounds quite successfully! I use the supports in two different ways - with the student using the "snake" visual, I simply gave her words and had her repeat the words using the visual that indicates the correct position of the phoneme. With the student using the "feather" visual, I paired the visual support with articulation cards (with pictures) so that the student could get a better idea of when he needs to produce /f/. This is a student who would overgeneralize and would simply produce /f/ at the beginning of every word regardless if it started with /f/, so utilizing this visual support along with pictures has helped him realize that there are words that do not begin with /f/, and that sometimes the /f/ needs to be produced in the middle or at the end of words.

What are your thoughts? What visual supports have you found to be successful when working with young students with articulation disorders?

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Breanna AllorComment