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Ask A Speechie – My son is learning to say a new sound in speech therapy. How often do I have to practice this new sound with him?

September 4, 2018
Ask A Speechie – My son is learning to say a new sound in speech therapy. How often do I have to practice this new sound with him?

This Ask A Speechie question is answered by Speech Pathologist Natalie Chorin.

Question: My son is learning to say a new sound in speech therapy. How often do I have to practice this new sound with him?

Learning and practicing a new motor pattern takes time, repetition and practice! When children learn to ride a bike, hold a pencil and even practice talking, they need to practice each skill over and over before they become efficient at completing it independently. The same goes when learning a new speech sound! Research in this area shows us that it is much more beneficial to practice speech sounds with your child in short 10-15 minute blocks everyday rather than in larger 30-45 minute blocks less frequently. As your child and others in the family can lead busy lives, you can also break up the sessions into 5 minute blocks everyday.

During these structured practice sessions, you should aim for your child to produce the new sound approximately 50 times. When your child is up to practicing the speech sound in conversation and play, it is still important to keep setting aside the time to practice. For example, before you practice the speech sound, you can say, “While you tell me about how you made a pirate hat, I’m going to listen out for your ‘r’ sound too”. During this practice time you can provide specific positive feedback when you hear their target sound for example “ I heard a great ‘r’ sound when you said ‘pirate’. You may also ask your child to fix up any errors they make and also listen out for any errors you may make too!

If you would like to find out more about your child developing new speech sounds please contact the team at reception and ask to speak to a Speech Pathologist.