Home Practice for Students Who Aren’t Stimulable for a Speech Sound

Home Practice for Students Who Aren’t Stimulable for a Speech Sound
You have a new student on your caseload, and they aren’t yet stimulable for their target sound (meaning they aren’t able to imitate it with models yet). Parents may be eager to participate, but this is not the time to send home “speech homework” in the form of word lists or drill-based activities. Let me explain.

Let’s say it’s the R sound you’re working on. You could easily print out an R sound word list to send home, but practicing a distorted R over and over isn’t going to improve production. They’d be practicing the wrong tongue placement and the wrong sound. That isn’t going to be helpful.

At this stage in speech therapy, you are likely going to be focusing on specific placement instructions, tactile cues, or shaping as you try to elicit the sound. You won’t be doing word drills yet, so it wouldn’t make sense for parents to be practicing that way either.

So what can parents do at home if their child isn’t yet stimulable? Here are some ideas:
  • Go over speech anatomy using a mirror and visuals. If a child has a clear understanding of the parts of their tongue and other articulators, it is going to be easier for them to follow specific instructions when learning how to say their sound. 
  • Work on auditory discrimination. For example, you could send home minimal pair cards or worksheets from my R Sound Minimal Pairs book. Parents can read the words aloud and the child can point to what they hear. 
  • Give exaggerated models during play. For example, making an RRRrrr sound while playing with toy cars.
  • Watch instructional videos together (ahem, Peachie Spechie videos!) to better understand articulator placement for the target sound. 
Now, if the child is stimulable for production, it’s a whole different story. In fact, I’ve got an entire articulation drill book called Drills for Skills when the time comes for that! But during those early stages of speech therapy when the child isn’t yet ready for drill work, the above suggestions are ways you might want to involve parents.

I hope you find this helpful! Head on over to Instagram and follow me @thePeachieSpeechie for more speech therapy videos and tips!

Reading next

How to Teach the R Sound
Pirate Activities for Speech Therapy