Today was no exception. I have an absolutely darling little kindergarten student who has a phonological processes difficulty. We have made incredible gains using the cycles approach along with some other articulation techniques. She is very highly motivated and just relishes being better understood by her peers, teachers, and family, and as soon as she learns a target production, she scans ahead and self-corrects like nobody's business. Stopping is reduced, gliding is reduced, but fronting of /sh/ (sorry, don't know how to insert phonetics into my blog!) was eluding her.
This is where thinking outside the box became critical. We had previously talked about the parts of the tongue, we did auditory bombardment, we used pictures, apps, flashlights. Zilch! I was grasping when it came to me...a pipe cleaner and a bead. We knew she could now produce /s/ consistently, but moving to /sh/ was vexing. The pipe cleaner represented the roof of her mouth and the pink bead was her tongue. As she moved the bead along the pipe cleaner, she was able to grasp how her tongue had to change for the /sh/ sound. A couple of trials and she had it. That little girl fell into my arms and then sprawled across my lap with relief. She did it! We laughed and said /sh/ over and over and over. Then she showed her teacher what she had learned and her teacher jumped for joy.
Thinking outside the box in action!
It was a bead and a pipe cleaner, and it resulted in improved communication. It is days like today that I am happy to announce I am a nonconformist. It is days like today that make me so happy I am an SLP.