Nonsense Syllables: Critical or Nonsensical?

Lots of times we’ll find ourselves rushing through the stage of isolation or nonsense syllables in artic therapy. Often this is an attempt to get to more functional single words and also, I think, because nonsense syllable work can get more boring for both therapist and child.

But focusing on nonsense syllable in the beginning and continuing to drill them long term can be a critical cornerstone to a child’s success.

Moving “through” the vowel will help avoid that, “target+schwa+rest of the word”, hallmark of kids in long term treatment.

Vowels are also a key component of intelligibility. Nonsense syllable allow assurances that the bothersome sound isn’t negatively distorting adjacent vowels. And the “target+vowel” (or other combo depending on placement needs) doesn’t have the added nuisance of additional motor movements.

Finally, nonsense syllables in a string are an invaluable tool for carryover. Within this stage you can increase the speech rate to normal (or even faster), play with intonation, and eliminate the possible burden of reading or language for some kiddos.



The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.