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Son struggling and getting upset with phonemes

(8 Posts)
JustMog Wed 28-Sep-16 09:48:12

My DS has got a little bit of a speech issue. He struggles to pronounce certain letters, mostly "s", "t" and "r" and stutters when anxious. We're waiting on an appointment with a speech therapist at the moment.

He's recently started school, and his first piece of homework was phonemes. He was given 6 letters, along with actions and words.

Problem was that he got very upset because he couldn't say some of the letters, so started refusing to engage at all. Lots of tears. We have found before that if he thinks he can't do something he'll just avoid it, so we know it's about building his confidence up enough that he'll try, and convincing him it doesn't matter if he doesn't get it perfectly right.

I tried to keep it light and not pressure him, trying to turn it into a game. I spoke to his teacher this morning for advice, and she's said she thinks we're on the right track and is going to see if she has some activities we can try.

So in the meantime I wondered if you knew of any games/activities that might be good to do with him? What worked for your kids?

maizieD Wed 28-Sep-16 10:42:03

My first thought on this is that it really doesn't matter if he can't pronounce the phonemes correctly. 'Phonics' is not elocution lessons, nor is a speech therapy exercise (though speech therapists do like children being taught phonics as helps children they are working with with practising enunciating phonemes correctly). The point of phonics is that it enables children to translate the written word into their version of the spoken word and so 'get' the meaning of it (as long as it is in their receptive or expressive vocabulary) to understand what is being communicated in writing.

So, although it may be worth doing fun exercises to help him with his speech problem (and I do hope that you get professional, i.e a Speech Therapist's, help very soon) I would keep them quite separate from practising letter/sound correspondences. For the latter, just accept whatever he offers. The fact that he might ultimately mispronounce a word when he says it aloud will make no difference to his grasp of its 'meaning' when he reads it.

mrz Wed 28-Sep-16 18:28:11

It doesn't matter if he can't pronounce them correctly as long as he's saying his pronunciation for that sound consistently. Speech sounds develop with age

eyebrowsonfleek Wed 28-Sep-16 18:42:40

I think it's very common for children to mispronunciation phonemes. I distinctly remember my NT kids saying "de" instead of "the" and "fing" instead of "thing" etc

JustMog Thu 29-Sep-16 09:26:53

Oh I absolutely get that he doesn't need to pronounce them correctly. It's more him putting that pressure on himself - he did the same with drawing. He got very annoyed that he couldn't draw recognisable things, even though he was doing completely normal mark making.

It's trying to get him to just be confident with what he can do.

If nothing else I need to try and help him deal with this before it becomes a bigger problem in school - he can't get upset every time he's not fantastic at something.

mouldycheesefan Thu 29-Sep-16 15:17:36

How long will the wait be for a speech therapist? Can you pay for some private sessions? Medical insurance if you have it may cover it.

TeacherBob Thu 29-Sep-16 18:28:27

Teach him 'I cant do it yet'

he has to do it, he cant just avoid things because he doesn't want to or finds it difficult

finding things hard and making mistakes is when the best learning takes place

jamdonut Fri 30-Sep-16 19:51:53

I agree with " Can't do it yet". We encourage this thinking at our school.

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