Do you ever find yourself struggling to get enough articulation productions in a session, particularly in mixed or larger groups?
There is not a large amount of research on the ideal “dose” (or number of trials needed to be effective) per session for articulation. However, we generally know that the more correct productions we can get a student to say will help the brain learn to correct the incorrect productions. Williams (2012) found that “a minimum dose of more than 50 trials and a duration of at least 30 sessions is required to be effective” when using the multiple oppositions phonology approach. The findings of Murray et. al. (2014) indicated that a high dose, or at least 60 trials per session, was beneficial in obtaining positive treatment outcomes for children with apraxia.*
We know that the more correct trials we can get per session, the better – but doing the same activities over and over can get quite repetitive and boring for the therapist! Here are five activities that I use in my practice that are designed to get a high number of repetitions of articulation targets, while requiring very little prep:
- 100 Charts for Articulation
I use these FREE charts and have the students color in one picture for each production of their target word/phrase/sentence. (Bonus: some students take their time with coloring, and I just have them color in one picture per 5 trials, so I can use the sheet over multiple sessions!) For students with fine motor difficulties, I have paired these with dauber markers (similar here – affiliate link).
- Paper Clip Spinner Game – can be played with paper clips, mini erasers, etc.
This is a very low prep activity that can be played with any mini objects of which you have a decent sized stash. (I’ve used mini erasers, paper clips, and small paper cups before, and the kids enjoy all the different options!) Simply draw a circle on a piece of paper, and divide it into several sections to make a spinner. I label each section with a number of trials (think high, between 3 and 10), as well as a plus or minus number, which represents how many objects the student gets or has to put back in the pile. Take turns spinning a paperclip on a pencil, and whoever has the most mini objects at the end of your time is the winner!
- Ten Circle Drawings
For this, I simply draw ten or more circles on a blank page, and have the student fill them all in with either pictures or drawings of words with their sounds. While they are working on each one, they have to practice the target five times, and before they leave, we review all the words again quickly five times. With ten circles, this adds up to 100 productions per session!
- Dice and Tally Game
This is a simple game using dice – big foam versions are the most fun (like this set – Amazon affiliate link), but any dice will work! Simply have each student roll the dice and say their target word the number of times as indicated by the number on the dice. Keep tallies of the numbers each student rolls – the student with the biggest number at the end of your allotted time is the “winner”! (Bonus tip: if you need to make sure your students get in enough trials, let them roll two dice instead of one!)
- Articulation Stories
This low prep idea is perfect for older mixed articulation groups! First, you’ll want to grab a piece of paper. Divide the paper into the same number of sections as you have students in your group. Then, write at least 10 words in each section that have each student’s targets in them. When your students come in, you can quickly have them take turns to practice all of their words – so if you have them say each word quickly 5 times, you easily have 50 productions each right there!
Then, you’ll have each student pick one of their target words, and they have to come up with a complete sentence with that word. As you are taking turns, you are building a collaborative story! This can be as silly or as serious as you want, and you can even keep adding to your story in subsequent sessions. (It’s also a great way to sneak in some grammar/syntax practice as well!) Want more details? Check out my video here!
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Williams, A. Lynn (2012) Intensity in phonological intervention: Is there a prescribed amount?, International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14:5, 456-461
Murray, E., McCabe, P., & Ballard, K.J. (2014). A Systematic Review of Treatment Outcomes for Children With Childhood Apraxia of Speech. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 23, 486–504.
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