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Strategy to help children and adults generalize their newly learned articulation skills into conversation

August 12, 2015


Since grad school, generalization of speech sounds into conversation has always been the hardest thing for me to help my articulation clients achieve.  In a moment of frustration, my supervisor and colleague, Leslie Humes, shared this idea with me when I was struggling to get one of my kiddos to generalize their /s/ sounds. It’s called a Tally Counter (see pic). I was never exposed to this in grad school, so I was overwhelmed with joy when she showed it to me. This is how I have used it to help my kids generalize their target speech sounds.


Give it to your client and say that you are going to have a conversation with them while they hold this clicker. You instruct them to click everytime they say /s/.  This will help them do the following:

  1. Reduce their rate of speech significantly as they try to listen for /s/ in their speech.

  2. Increase their own ability to self monitor (and ultimately self correct) their speech productions.

  3. Increase generalization in conversation.

When my kiddos initially start using it, they say it’s pretty challenging. However, once they get the hang of it, they love it.  I even do a point system with them and tell them if they get a certain amount of clicks outside of therapy, they can earn a prize from me. They LOVE this and parents do too because it really gets the kiddos motivated to consistently practice their speech sounds in conversation at home.

I have been extremely successful in generalizing speech sounds using this trick.  Give it a try and see if it helps you 


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