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  • Writer's pictureDestynie I

Phono- What Disorder?! (Phonological Processes and What To Do About Them)

Updated: Oct 30

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Phonological therapy is an approach used by Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) to address phonological processes in individuals with speech sound disorders. Phonological processes are patterns of sound errors that affect multiple sounds and occur systematically in a person's speech. They most often occur in children as they learn and grow. These errors reflect a child's simplification of adult speech patterns. Phonological therapy aims to help individuals understand and use the correct sound patterns in their language.

Here's a more detailed overview of phonological therapy for phonological processes:

1. Assessment:

  • SLPs conduct a thorough assessment to identify phonological processes present in the individual's speech.

  • They analyze patterns of sound errors to understand the specific phonological processes the person is using.

2. Target Selection:

  • SLPs select specific phonological processes to target based on assessment results.

  • Targets are chosen strategically to address the most significant and developmentally appropriate errors.

3. Phonological Awareness Activities:

  • Phonological therapy often includes activities to enhance phonological awareness, which is the ability to recognize and manipulate sounds at various levels, such as syllables, onsets, rimes, and phonemes.

  • Games and exercises are designed to improve the individual's ability to discriminate between different sounds, blend sounds together, segment words into sounds, and manipulate sounds within words.

4. Minimal Pair Activities:

  • Minimal pairs are words that differ by only one phoneme (sound), such as "cat" and "bat."

  • SLPs use minimal pair activities to help individuals discriminate between sounds that they are substituting incorrectly. For example, if a child substitutes "t" for "k," the SLP might work on minimal pairs like "top" and "cop."

5. Cueing Techniques:

  • SLPs use various cues to help individuals recognize and produce correct sounds. Common cues include visual cues (showing pictures or diagrams of mouth movements), auditory cues (emphasizing the sound), and tactile cues (touching the articulators to help feel the correct placement).

6. Phonological Patterns Worksheets and Games:

  • SLPs often use worksheets and games designed to address specific phonological patterns. These activities provide structured practice for the targeted sounds and patterns.

7. Structured Practice:

  • Structured practice involves repetitive exercises and drills targeting the specific phonological patterns.

  • The individual practices correct sound production in various words and phrases to generalize the correct pattern across different contexts.

8. Generalization Activities:

  • SLPs design activities to help individuals use the correct sounds in everyday communication.

  • Generalization activities involve practicing correct sound production in conversation, storytelling, and other natural communication contexts.

9. Parent/Caregiver Involvement:

  • Parents and caregivers are often involved in phonological therapy to reinforce correct sound patterns at home.

  • SLPs provide guidance to parents on how to support their child's speech development outside of therapy sessions.

Phonological therapy is highly individualized, with SLPs tailoring the activities and strategies to meet the specific needs and goals of the individual receiving therapy. The ultimate aim is to help the person improve their speech intelligibility and communicate effectively in various social and academic settings.

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