A large percentage of my clientele is working on articulation so, as you might guess, I see a lot of “r” issues. I like working on /r/. The kids are cute, the misarticulations are often endearing and it’s fixable. I also like the challenge of matching a technique to a child. It’s like a prospector mining for gold—you know it’s in there, you know it’s in there, but it takes tremendous patience to find that hidden vein. But, oh, how valuable when you finally stumble across it!
A few years ago, I started a collection of /r/ articles and therapy tips in a 3-ring binder. One is an article ripped from Advance in May 2004, “Eureka!”
The therapist, Priscilla Jones, recounts the technique she developed for use with her own son, Tyler, to discover his elusive vocalic /r/. She found that preceding vocalic /r/ with /j/ and following it with a prevocalic /r/, was a friendlier way to elicit the sound. The single word, “eureka”, fit the bill perfectly and had the added advantage of being less familiar (i.e. unpracticed) word.
So, if you took the time to create gold nuggets for St. Patrick’s Day, consider keeping them out rather than storing them as a seasonal activity.
Gold nuggets (for suggestions on making these, click here)
Set up a classic treasure hunt by hiding nuggets around your room. In the beginning, the child can just shout “eureka” upon finding one. If you’re ready to have them expand it a bit, try having them say “Eureka! You’re right (location)!” (i.e. “Eureka! You’re right behind the door!”)
The “you’re right” phrase stays consistent to the /j/, initial /r/ rules, giving you additional trials, but also a start with carryover.