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Can anyone help me on a speech therapy type question?

(16 Posts)
GrimmaTheNome Thu 10-Sep-09 22:48:54

My DD is 10. She's always said 'fink' instead of 'think' and free instead of three (to the extent that when she was describing a skating move called a 3-turn I thought she was saying free-turn until I saw it written). She does not have any problem with hard th- sounds, just the soft. I have in the past tried to help her pronounce soft th by showing how my tongue sticks out a bit when I do it - what kid can resist being told to stick out their tongues? But it hasn't helped.

Light began to dawn on me reading a thread here recently that actually there may be a more fundamental issue, that she actually can't properly hear the difference in the sounds in the first place. I don't know why I'd not thought of this ages ago, when she started writing - her spelling is not good but in particular there would be confusion of th/f and also v in written work.

I asked her last night if she could tell the difference, so she told me to say a couple of words without emphasising the sounds. Whereas she could easily distinguish the hard th- e.g. fat/that, she found it hard to tell three from free - she did get it right but wasn't sure about it.

Oh dear. So what do we do now? As she doesn't seem to have any other hearing problems it seems its a matter of perception rather than anything physically wrong with her hearing.

If you have any suggestions I would be very grateful. I think she'd be happy to put in some work to correct this (if its possible to do so at this stage). From something that happened today I think someone has been making fun of the way she speaks and she's getting cross about it sad

pinkteddy Thu 10-Sep-09 23:02:53

This is a website you may find useful. The main focus is under 5s but there is information for parents of children who are primary and secondary ages. They also have factsheets and publications which may be useful.

talking point

wigglybeezer Thu 10-Sep-09 23:20:54

My DS2 has just had a few speech therapy sessions for this very issue (admittedly he was on the speech therapists books for another issue).
He definitely couldn't hear the difference and his spelling was affected.
All the speech therapist did was make him practice "guessing" which of the sounds a word started with, his success rate improved quite quickly, with spelling anyway BUT his pronunciation is not much better, it seems to be a habit he is stuck with now and the SALT basically said that there was not much she could do about that (she also implied I was being a bit snobby wanting it to change as it is regarded as the norm for many children!).
We just did 5 mins a day with DS practising working out whether I was saying "fin" or "thin" etc. and earning points when he got it right. You have to exagerate the difference at first.
The SALT said that sounds at the end and in the middle are harder to hear than sounds at the beginning so start of with words like "thin". etc.

cat64 Thu 10-Sep-09 23:33:41

Message withdrawn

GrimmaTheNome Fri 11-Sep-09 08:43:15

Thanks for those suggestions - I've not had time to look at the website but will do so soon.

Distinct pronunciation isn't a matter of 'snobbery'. Its a matter of being clearly understood. F/th confusion isn't the norm where we live (Lancashire) ... neither are long vowels, which DD has aquired from her southern-bred parents. I'd be entirely happy for her to use short 'a's like the rest of her friends as that doesn't cause misunderstandings or spelling confusion. As it is I think DD has occasionally being teased for sounding 'posh' whereas actually she sounds a bit Essex!

GrimmaTheNome Fri 11-Sep-09 08:48:36

I meant 'is' being teased; unfortunately one friend is a button-pusher and I fear that teasing DD about various differences in the way she speaks are becoming a 'button' for DD. But that's a whole other matter!

wigglybeezer Fri 11-Sep-09 11:33:12

I know what you mean Grimma, about the pronunciation, we are in Scotland and I don't regard "f" and "th" confusion as a normal part of the local accent, I live in a small poshish town and was just comparing DS2 with his peers who don't confuse those sounds (although I've noticed DS3 who is five does). The SALT did say that it is very common and it would be regarded as within the normal range for children to still do this at @7, DS3 is 8 1/2.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 11-Sep-09 16:44:40

I couldn't spot anything that seemed particularly relevant on that website...maybe I just didn't find the right section.

Does anyone know of information specifically about sound differentiation maybe?

DesperateHousewifeToo Fri 11-Sep-09 21:35:40

Grimma,

Here is what to do. Use this list of minimal pairs (i.e. basically, words that sound the same apart from one sound e.g. pat/bat, lit/let, less/leg):

four/thaw, fin/thin, fawn/thorn, free/three, fred/thread, fort/thought

reef/wreath, deaf/death, half/hearth, oaf/oath

Start by talking about the difference between the two sounds. 'f' is produced by touching the top teeth to the lower lip and pushing air out ('v' is the same except you use your voice at the same time). 'th' is produced by touching the top teeth with the tip of your tongue and pushing air out (hard 'th' as you called it is the same but using your voice too).

So 'f' could be described as a ''lip sound'' and 'th' as a ''tooth sound''. You could use these terms to help distinguish between the sounds if that helps your dd.

Then, as wigglybeezer says, do lots of listening with her to the difference between the two sounds 'f' and 'th' on their own -you make a sound and she has to tell you which one you said. Perhaps make a pack of cards, 20 of each sound, she then has to choose a card and make the correct sound.

Then listen to the difference between each pair of words. Concentrate on a pair of words at a time. Start with her listening to a word and then identifying it to you (perhaps have 2 piles, one for each word/sound), then she has to pick a word from the pack and you tell her which one she said (use the pack of cards so she has to use both words not just the ones with the 'f' sound in!).

If she says the word 'fin' but means 'thin', you tell her she said 'fin'. This will give her feedback for what she is saying.

If using pictures for each word helps, try this link. You need to scroll down to get to the right words.

Once your dd is consistently using the correct sound in single words, start putting them into sentences or make up stories with them in.

Sorry for very long post. I hope it makes sense and is of some help.

wiggly - you need to now turn the work around so that your ds now does the same games but with you doing the listening and him doing the talking, iyswim.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 11-Sep-09 23:10:54

Thanks! I really appreciate the time you've spent on that, and it does make sense.smile I shall have to think a little about how and when to start putting this into practice - poor kid has 11+ in a couple of weeks time so I think I'll have to wait till after that to do it properly.

DesperateHousewifeToo Sat 12-Sep-09 09:00:38

Yes, probably best to wait until after the 11+!

Although if she is confusing the sounds when writing them too, you could print off one of each minimal pair and talk to her about them.

In younger children I have worked with, this has sometimes just clicked into place.

Good luck with the 11+.

Let us know how she gets on with the minimal pairs. I'll put this on my 'watched list' so I don't miss it.

One thing I didn't point out in my epic post yesterday, was to make sure you talk about the 'sounds' not 'letters'. So don't pronounce 'f' as ''eff'' (rhyming with neffsmile) but the sound of that letter i.e. what you get left with when you say 'fan' and then remove the -an.

Hope that makes sensehmmgrin

ben5 Sat 12-Sep-09 09:08:19

have you had her tested for glue ear? is she worse in winter than in summer? only asking as going down the speach thing with ds2 and they said to get ears tested. it showed he had glue ear in both ears in january but by april it had cleared in one ear and was better in the other. the consultant said it's sometimes seasonal but will keep reg. checks on it

DesperateHousewifeToo Sat 12-Sep-09 10:51:31

ps can she distinguish between 'vat/that'?

GrimmaTheNome Mon 14-Sep-09 10:14:39

ben5 - I thought glue ear only affected very small children? She had the usual hearing tests when in infants and nothing was detected then.

Desperate - I don't know about that/vat, I didn't think to ask her before, but given that I have seen th/v confusion in written work (over/other interchanged) that is certainly a possibility.

thanks again!

DesperateHousewifeToo Mon 14-Sep-09 12:48:55

Dh had grommits as an adult as well as a child.

Worth getting it checked just to cross off the list. Do you have any concerns about her hearing generally?

GrimmaTheNome Tue 15-Sep-09 12:57:03

I wouldn't have said so - though with a 10 year old its hard to be sure because they are typically either not listening or can't be bothered responding.

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