Avoid Over Correcting Articulation Errors at All Costs


During my last post I revealed how the frequency in which I correct a child has gone down greatly over the years. The rational for limiting how much I correct a client is pretty simple. No one enjoys being corrected. So the question we raise is how much is too much when correcting a client. There is no set number or formula for this, rather this is where a clinician needs to use their powers of perception and intuition. Some clients can be very resilient and can take being corrected and pushed. Other clients can have a “low failure threshold “and literally shut down after getting one or two trials wrong. A clinician needs to develop the ability to read their clients and sense when they are hitting their limits. Knowing when to back off is critical.
The best practice when working with a client is to focus on what the client can already do well, and strive to do it better and quicker. You would be surprised how much a client can improve their productions which may initially appear very strong. With practice and continued repetition, you will notice that the amount of focus and effort it takes to make rapid productions, greatly reduces. The problem lies in the fact that it is counterintuitive to focus our time working on what the client can already do. We would rather work on the specific level they are having difficulty with in order to see what difference we can make. I always make a quick trip to this level during every session only to see where it is, but I do not dwell there. I only need to know where the breakdown is the most pronounced and then I will fall back a level or two and focus my efforts at that specific level.
The time for intensive correcting of a client is during the process of developing consistent stimulability. It is at this stage that the client may need constant reminding to adjust what is occurring in their mouth in order to produce their sounds accurately. Once consistently stimulable, it becomes much easier to work with your client without constant correcting. At this time, the purpose of the drills provided is to maintain and reinforce accuracy while developing the ability to produce the sounds quicker. If mistakes start occurring than the client needs to slow down and back off to reconnect with their accuracy.
Lastly, when providing homework to your clients, you want them to be working on drills that they can do well. You do not want them to be reinforcing any inaccurate productions. Getting your clients to practice drills that they can easily do with you, allows you to send the homework drills home with the confidence that they  will be practiced accurately and effectively.