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Daughter with speech impediment learning to read


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My daughter is 5 (going to be 6 in October) and as we delve into our reading program, I am wondering if I should be working on correcting the sounds as we go, and not move forward until she has corrected it, or move forward with our reading program, helping her as we go?

 

She has trouble with MANY sounds, digraphs, blends, etc. It's not going to be a quick fix. 

 

Thank you!

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You may want to look into Lindamood-Bell LiPS. I have heard that kids who have articulation disorders often have difficulty with phonemic awarenesss, and Susan Barton recommends using LiPS before her reading program if the child has difficulty with phonemic awareness.

 

I'm keeping an eye on LiPS for my little one when she gets a bit older. She has difficulty distinguishing between certain phonemes.

 

For example, a few weeks ago, she called a piece of kale I was about to cook "broccoli". I replied, "no, that's kale." She said, "tale". I corrected her, "no, kale with a k. /k/, /k/, kale." DD said, "/k/, /k/, tale."

 

You can see more about LiPS here: http://www.ganderpublishing.com/LiPS.html

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My ds has verbal apraxia, and we're using LIPS.  The advice our SLP gave us was NOT to require anything that he could not say correctly.  Given that you're saying she has MANY sounds that are a problem, have you determined if there's apraxia or auditory processing order or something going on?  Frankly, I'd be MUCH more concerned about getting correct speech therapy and interventions than I would about the reading.  You can teach her to read later, no problem.  

 

If the ST isn't working, that would be a HUGE red flag to look into apraxia.  The therapy we use is PROMPT.  There's a long test the SLP can give that can screen for APD.  To get an accurate apraxia diagnosis, you're better off to go with an apraxia expert, someone who deals with it a lot.  Regular therapists often miss it or gloss it over.

 

Earobics is another thing you can do, but for us LIPS has been much more powerful.  However it would be good to get to the root of the speech problem and make sure you're treating that correctly.  

 

Just for some basic information, you might give her the Barton pretest and see what happens.  If she fails that, I wouldn't screw around with a regular reading program. 

 

Oh, and just for your trivia, my ds will also turn 6 in October.  Our kids are basically the same age.  :)  He only just started hearing the individual sounds in words, and it wasn't actually because of LIPS. LIPS is great, yes, but we've also been doing workbooks by Jean DeGaetano.  You buy them from the Great Ideas for Teaching website.  She has a BUNCH of them.  The one that really did magic for us was Attention Good Listeners.  Before that, my ds could not hear the individual sounds in words AT ALL.  

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 I didn't work on speech with reading, nor did I wait for articulation issues to clear before I taught my son. He's 10, a great reader, and still in speech therapy.

 

Susan Barton's site has you perform an assessment prior to her program. https://www.bartonreading.com/students_long.html#screen Part of that screening has to do with seeing if the child is hearing the sounds correctly. If a child doesn't hear them correctly, they do LIPS first.  My son had some minor issues in that area. It has affecting spelling, but not reading. He passed the Barton test part C, but with issues. I think LIPS might have been a good idea with him in retrospect.

 

I would do that assessment, and remediate with LIPS before starting other instruction if her scoring indicates the need.

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I do work on speech with reading, but dd only has a few articulation problems so I can tell the difference between her reading incorrectly and her pronouncing incorrectly. She is learning to read on grade level even with some pretty shoddy phonemic awareness skills, but we're remediating that through her spelling program at the moment. I don't know if it is the program introducing these things in a good way or if luck had me buy it when she was finally ready to learn it.

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I've been changing the order of instruction with the phonograms to bring in sounds ds needs to discriminate as minimal pairs.  For instance, I went ahead and taught him written *sh* so that we could work on s vs. sh with spelling.  We're using the vertical path of instruction in LIPS which means we're doing a single vowel and limited consonants.  If I add in an additional vowel, he struggles to discriminate it and process it all.  I assume he's going to end up with a dyslexia diagnosis later.  So there are sounds he can say that he can't discriminate, and there are sounds he confuses in his speech due to motor planning, where we're trying to get him to self-monitor.  Teaching the written form is good in that latter case, where it's giving them more explanation of what they're hearing.  

 

What our SLP was saying was not to hold up a T flashcard and ask him to say /t/ when he doesn't have the motor planning to say /t/ correctly, kwim?  It's just sorta bad psychology and cements incorrect motor control, but that's for apraxia, where the motor planning for the speech is the problem and it was more of an issue when he was younger.  There are also ways to work around speech and teach reading even to a totally non-verbal dc.  You end up using touch and response.  (Rapid Prompting method, and there's a terrific video someone just posted on SN)  

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FWIW, it may or may not actually be an issue with reading.  I went through years of speech therapy attempting to remediate specific sounds (and was finally correctly diagnosed with dyspraxia of speech in my 20s), and one reason why it was so hard to remediate is that I don't HEAR the difference when I make it. I'm saying the word I want to say, and to ME it sounds "correct". It is only if I hear myself played back on a recording or if I see the sound mapping that I can recognize that I'm out of position. That's one reason why the articulation disorder protocol, which focuses on hearing the sound, didn't work well for me at all. In 20/20 hindsight, I suspect the only reason any of my sounds remediated at all was that my motor coordination improved with age.

 

The plus side is that since I couldn't "hear" that my sounds were incorrect, it never affected reading or written spelling (obviously, oral spelling would have been a nightmare).

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FWIW, it may or may not actually be an issue with reading.  I went through years of speech therapy attempting to remediate specific sounds (and was finally correctly diagnosed with dyspraxia of speech in my 20s), and one reason why it was so hard to remediate is that I don't HEAR the difference when I make it. I'm saying the word I want to say, and to ME it sounds "correct". It is only if I hear myself played back on a recording or if I see the sound mapping that I can recognize that I'm out of position. That's one reason why the articulation disorder protocol, which focuses on hearing the sound, didn't work well for me at all. In 20/20 hindsight, I suspect the only reason any of my sounds remediated at all was that my motor coordination improved with age.

 

The plus side is that since I couldn't "hear" that my sounds were incorrect, it never affected reading or written spelling (obviously, oral spelling would have been a nightmare).

So then how did you learn to spell?  Brute force and visual memory?

 

With ds, it's absolutely correct that his speech and ability to discriminate are linked.  So right now if you were to try to get an isolated /e/ vs. /a/, I don't think you'd get it.  In speech it will be there, but there's not enough control and discrimination to do it in isolation or actually work with it for spelling/reading.  That Attention Good Listeners workbook has been really unique for us, because it builds auditory discrimination by having them listen to pairs with slight differences and identify them by touching pictures.  http://www.greatideasforteaching.com/SearchOurCatalog/ProductDetails/tabid/75/ProductID/216/Default.aspx   We have two copies of the pages and do rapid naming, naming and matching, working memory (I say two, you touch them), etc.  This is what has been getting breakthroughs for us with hearing sounds in words.  

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I hear the word correctly in my head (and when I say it). It's strange. Basically, I don't hear myself talk the way it actually sounds to everyone else. I hear what I'm trying to say. The speech therapy professor in college who had the best success with me was one who focused on hearing impairments, and basically taught me how to make the sounds by feel instead of by hearing them.

 

 

 

 

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FWIW, it may or may not actually be an issue with reading.  I went through years of speech therapy attempting to remediate specific sounds (and was finally correctly diagnosed with dyspraxia of speech in my 20s), and one reason why it was so hard to remediate is that I don't HEAR the difference when I make it. I'm saying the word I want to say, and to ME it sounds "correct". It is only if I hear myself played back on a recording or if I see the sound mapping that I can recognize that I'm out of position. That's one reason why the articulation disorder protocol, which focuses on hearing the sound, didn't work well for me at all. In 20/20 hindsight, I suspect the only reason any of my sounds remediated at all was that my motor coordination improved with age.

 

The plus side is that since I couldn't "hear" that my sounds were incorrect, it never affected reading or written spelling (obviously, oral spelling would have been a nightmare).

 

This seems to be the case with my DD as well. She was slower to learn to read than DS but I don't think that is because of her speech issues.  The speech therapies that are helping her most at this point are those where she can listen to her own voice speaking. 

 

To the OP, I would just move forward with reading instruction using the method you think best and see how it goes for a while.  You will probably be able to tell if she's being tripped up by the sounds of the letters on the page, or her own pronunciation.  If you need to stop and re-evaluate, that's par for the course.  :) 

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I had a speech impediment as a child as well, and I was reading long before my mom took me out of speech classes (I ended up learning on my own with family support). While I could read at a 2nd to 3rd grade level by the time I was six, very few people could understand me when I spoke. I say that, unless it's frustrating her, keep helping her. Take your time and don't push and be there for her. There's nothing worse than trying your hardest to make yourself understood only to have the person who's supposed to be teaching you get angry because you haven't accomplished what they want you to (which is one reason we're homeschooling). I'm sure that with support she'll be reading and speaking.

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It depends entirely on why she is having speech problems.  If her issues are developmentally normal, then there is problem with teaching reading.  It is normal for children to have speech issues up to age 8, even though most children begin reading before that.  If she can hear the sounds (no auditory processing issues), and the problem is in motor planning, then there still is no problem with teaching reading while she is speech therapy.  But if she has problems hearing the sounds, then you have work on that before you can teach reading.  Again, this is not necessarily a hearing loss issue that would be picked up by a standard hearing test, but a neurological issue that a speech therapist would need to diagnose.

 

My ds had some very minor auditory processing issues.  He couldn't hear the difference between voiced sounds and their voiceless equivalents, such as D/T, CH/J, B/P and F/V.  His reading really took off once the speech therapist began working on those things.  But took many weeks of evaluation to pin down what was going on with him, because his symptoms were unusual.  You really need a good speech therapist to do an evaluation.  

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You guys are so wonderful...thank you. I've been going round and round in my head with what to do. I called today to have her evaluated. I realized that was beyond my skill set. Once she has been evaluated, we'll go from there.

 

She can say a sound wrong, but know what letter or letters make the sound she is saying. Like, she was going through all the initialed cups for my sons Boy Scout meeting the other night and noticed out of the 8 cups we were missing the "L" for Lukas, but when she told me she said Wukas. 

 

A little more about her challenges:

 

Some sounds she physically can say, like 's' and 'r', she just doesn't. So with those I enunciate them back to her when she says them wrong (like if she says, "I want to go for a wide" I say "Oh, you want to go for a Ride, I'd love to take you for a Ride) with those sounds, this method is really helping. I don't outright correct her, it's exhausting and frustrating for her, and I don't 'make' her say it the right way, she wants to and does when she is aware. 

 

But the soft sound of "G" and "J" and "CH" she can't figure out what to do with her tongue and teeth - I think once she gets one she will get them all, but I don't want to frustrate her. She can't place her tongue right for "L" or "TH". And if she talks fast saying multi-syllable words, it all gets really jumbled. 

 

There seems to be a couple of things going on. I am going to start researching some of the curriculum you guys suggested, so I'm ready to support her when we figure it all out...

 

Thank You!

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I hear the word correctly in my head (and when I say it). It's strange. Basically, I don't hear myself talk the way it actually sounds to everyone else. I hear what I'm trying to say. The speech therapy professor in college who had the best success with me was one who focused on hearing impairments, and basically taught me how to make the sounds by feel instead of by hearing them.

Thank you, that's profound.  That's what we're trying to accomplish with LIPS.  We slow down and talk through all the aspects of the sound (breath, teeth, lips, tongue, voiced/voiceless, etc.).  It seems to be working for him.  It just had never occurred to me that when he speaks, he hears himself in his mind as saying it correctly, wow.  That would explain things.  

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If it's like what they did with me, lots of audio recording and playback, and (new technology then, now there's probably a .99 iPad app) a computer program that would show a visual reading on the sound as it is to be produced and me saying it, so as we adjusted the physical positioning, I could see the changes. It was similar to the visual strobe tuners used for music, where the goal is to match pitch and stop the oscillation, but tied in much more exactly to the varying frequencies in a single sound, then a word, then a phrase, and so on. The latter was more effective, because for the former, I could hear it on the tape, but when. I went to correct it, couldn't hear I was doing it wrong/right until I heard it on tape. I'd say adding a digital recorder wouldn't hurt if you're doing speech at home, just in case.

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She can say a sound wrong, but know what letter or letters make the sound she is saying. Like, she was going through all the initialed cups for my sons Boy Scout meeting the other night and noticed out of the 8 cups we were missing the "L" for Lukas, but when she told me she said Wukas. 

 

A little more about her challenges:

 

Some sounds she physically can say, like 's' and 'r', she just doesn't. So with those I enunciate them back to her when she says them wrong (like if she says, "I want to go for a wide" I say "Oh, you want to go for a Ride, I'd love to take you for a Ride) with those sounds, this method is really helping. I don't outright correct her, it's exhausting and frustrating for her, and I don't 'make' her say it the right way, she wants to and does when she is aware. 

 

But the soft sound of "G" and "J" and "CH" she can't figure out what to do with her tongue and teeth - I think once she gets one she will get them all, but I don't want to frustrate her. She can't place her tongue right for "L" or "TH". And if she talks fast saying multi-syllable words, it all gets really jumbled. 

 

 

Most of the sounds that she is having trouble with, you would not expect a 5yo to be able to say.  (See this articulation development chart.)  But some of them you would expect her to already have mastered.  If she has "skipped over" sounds that she should have already mastered, that can be a problem, because there is a reason that speech typically develops in a particular order; one sound building on another.  My ds had this problem, and when the speech therapist took him back to the beginning, he made huge progress from one week to another in this fashion.  She said he was a smart kid who was trying to master all of language at once, and in so doing, he was missing some key building blocks.  

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I'd love to hear more about this if you want to share...

 

 

If it's like what they did with me, lots of audio recording and playback, and (new technology then, now there's probably a .99 iPad app) a computer program that would show a visual reading on the sound as it is to be produced and me saying it, so as we adjusted the physical positioning, I could see the changes. It was similar to the visual strobe tuners used for music, where the goal is to match pitch and stop the oscillation, but tied in much more exactly to the varying frequencies in a single sound, then a word, then a phrase, and so on. The latter was more effective, because for the former, I could hear it on the tape, but when. I went to correct it, couldn't hear I was doing it wrong/right until I heard it on tape. I'd say adding a digital recorder wouldn't hurt if you're doing speech at home, just in case.

 

Yes, similar idea, but not so fancy.  :)  We do a lot of recording and playback in different ways.  It's super easy to record and playback on most smartphones. Our SLP also has an old-fashioned cassette recorder she has us bring home to use and so that she can also listen back to DD's home practice.   Sometimes I (or our SLP) will say some words or phrases and have DD repeat them, then listen back to the recording immediately.  Sometimes DD will read favorite poems or a short story straight into the recording, then I'll read them, then she'll listen back. 

 

We also have a cheap but amazing gizmo made of PVC pipe that has a shape like an old handheld phone reciever. As you hold it up like a phone and speak into it, your own voice is amplified right back to your ear.  So, that's really real-time feedback, and it's been an amazing tool for us for only a couple bucks worth of hardware store pipe. 

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The articulation chart was very interesting....I am huge on letting kids develop skills when they are ready....maybe I just need to slow my roll and go back to basics.....both of my boys are extremely articulate, which might be the reason it seems so glaring with her. I feel much better about our path now. 

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This may have occurred to you by now, but one of the things you can do is sit down and actually make a list of her errors to see which ones are within the realm of normal.  For instance, with my ds the SLP said if he's hitting L and R 60% of the time, he's age-appropriate.  50% or less, therapy.  60% or more hitting it, within the realm of normal.  For him, the blends using L and R are therefore formative, which also then I assume is age-typical.  

 

When in doubt, you're safer to get an eval and let the SLP sort it out.  You'd rather hear it's nothing than to wish you had intervened.  They might have some suggestions for you on ways to integrate the sounds into your day or work on them.  

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