Getting the sound correct is not enough! We need to perceive how the sound is being said.
Is it effortful, taking much concentration – or is it fluid, effortless and automatic?
Watching the face, lips and tongue for effortful productions is one of the best diagnostic indicators. As we increase the number of repetitions you will notice a smoothing out of how the productions are being produced.
Additionally, it is important to see if there is any pausing occurring before target sounds. If the child needs to pause before target sounds in order to maintain accuracy, this tells us that sound production is not automatic and continued development of transition speed will be necessary.
In striving for automatic speech, we spend the majority of our time practicing sounds and sound combinations that are easy to produce. The focus on repeating drills that we can already do leads to our productions becoming more fluid, effortless and automatic. This in turn provides a strong foundation as we increase the complexity of our targets up into conversation.
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