How To Teach Vowel Sounds In Speech Therapy

How To Teach Vowel Sounds In Speech Therapy
Child overcoming speech impediments

The complexly structured verbal language or communication system is not a capacity that is available from the moment the child is born, but rather gradually acquires it during growth and development, until it establishes solid bases to form an essential tool to communicate and at the same time to stimulate knowledge at early age.

All the neurological processes that intervene in the formation of language are under constant investigation due to their degree of complexity, Together with advances in medicine, they try to explain these processes more in-depth to guide more disorders derived during the development and establish more specialized therapeutic behaviors, based on evidence and with higher levels of efficacy.

Early Childhood Development

My arduous experience and research in the field of language have shown me that language development has certain key points that must be taken into account to ensure optimal development in children. The first four years of the child’s development are vital and decisive for language learning and the subsequent development of its complexity. This stage of development is when a set of changes occurs in the nervous system and the areas of our brain that control language to develop more optimal brain plasticity, the latter is the ability of our neural system to develop its structure to perfect its functions throughout the growth of the child while adapting to the constant changes and demands of the environment and external factors.

How Vowels Help With Development

To promote the acquisition and development of the infant’s phonetic elements, it is necessary that as parents we pay special attention to hearing and discriminating various sounds that the child begins to manifest; It is necessary that they relate to the mechanism of production of sounds and perceives the sensation of the organs that are involved in the emission of sounds during the activity in speech therapy, also of the movements carried out; which can be evaluated through the touch. How could we teach children to get involved with the process and perceive the different structures of the phonetic complex and their functions? The answer is easy, this can be done simply. Through touch the child can feel the action of the bellows or lung blowing, the parent must ask the child to place his hands above his lower costal arches and ask him to act as blowing repeatedly, and immediately the child will notice this phenomenon. Also, the child should be guided to place the palm of his hand above the neck, at the level of the thyroid gland and pronounce the letter (a) in an elongated way, in the same sense, placing a hand over the mouth, with the hand closed mouth is instructed to emit a prolonged (m), to capture the resonant activity that occurs.

Importance of Breathing

It is important that breathing exercises are performed, only with simple movements that are repeated, and gradually the sounds are included. Breathing movements of inspiration and expiration are made with the mouth and also with the nose while trying to retain air, the child must take deep breaths, exhaling slowly and also quickly. Parents can help children by building paper balls, place them on a flat surface, preferably a table where children with the help of a straw can blow the paper balls to move them. The child should be asked to pronounce the vowels, they should do it in the following way; inhale slowly through the nose, retaining the air, then exhale slowly while pronouncing the vowels (a, e, i, o, u). This procedure can vary in speed. Another very effective technique is the game of syllables, parents must stimulate the child to articulate syllables, joining vowels with easy-to-articulate consonants to start, such as (ma, pa), this allows to exercise articulation and rhythm. Children should also perform tongue exercises, rotating it in all directions, stretching it, touching the hard palate, and touching the tongue tooth by tooth. Short phrases, poems, and tongue twisters can be used that the child should repeat syllable by syllable until he articulates correctly.

Environmental Factors In Language Development

All these activities must be carried out in complete silence, so that the sounds are properly identified by the child, and that he can internalize them without interruptions. Exercises can be done with the lips, retaining a toothpick, only with the use of the lips, without inserting it completely into the oral cavity, squeezing and releasing the toothpick consecutively as if articulating the sound of the (p) in a repetitive way. Facial exercises should be included, inflating the cheeks and then deflating them after having held the air for a few seconds that the parent should count, this procedure must be done in parts, first, the child should inflate the right cheek and then the left, changing patterns.

Similar actions can be taken for articulation. The child should be positioned in front of a mirror so that he can see the mechanism of how his tongue moves inside his mouth to emit the sound of the (l) and the vibratory action of the (r). Parents should teach these specific actions to their children through imitation, parents don’t need to give their children strenuous explanations, they should only exemplify the movements and ask the child to repeat them to produce one or more phonemes during speech therapy. This process takes advantage of children’s perceptual abilities, including their hearing. Thanks to the mastery of this ability, the child can perceive, fix and distinguish the sound stimuli of the phonemic formation of speech by what he hears around him, these stimuli are stored in the area of ​​the cerebral cortex destined for this function, which is located in the left hemisphere of the brain, this area performs analytical processes, discriminates and synthesizes the sounds that derive from speech. This set of events explains the deterioration of speech functions when there is some damage in this area of ​​the cerebral cortex, children lose their abilities to discriminate sounds, establishing sensory aphasia, also known as the inability to recognize sounds and therefore, the spoken language. For this reason, the importance of stimulating the hearing capacity, in children with reduced hearing capacity, even if it is low grade, there are various obstacles and delays to learning that may require speech therapy to learn the vowel sounds. Also, there is a high probability that speech will be learned with some dyslalia or impairments in the articulation of various phonemes.

Reinforcement in Speech Therapy

In speech therapy, parents should be based on reinforcing the perception of hearing and improving the verbal and phonetic stimuli that children perceive from the environment, direct family, and at school. For this reason, an attempt should be made to verify the state of the auditory system to promote the development of phonemes and articulation accurately, since it is dependent on hearing and stimulation. This post is not only aimed at parents who have children who require speech therapy, it is also a means to educate all parents to promote optimal speech development in their children. Education professionals, psychologists, and others interested in learning more about how to stimulate children’s language skills early to prepare them for their insertion into primary education. These skills are learned and perfected due to the constant influence of parents on their children in the family environment, to put them into practice and continue to develop them during their years of school education.

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