plurals

Children start to learn the rules for making plurals fairly young—often in their second year. Irregular plural forms are mastered a little later and it is not uncommon for 4-year-olds to make occasional errors with plurals. If your child seems to have trouble mastering the rules for plurals in his speech, some focused practice can often help him along.

The following activities are excerpted from my book Language Lessons, which is packed with games and activities to enhance skills in listening, comprehending, and producing language.

Language lessons-small

Plurals

Gather pictures of nouns. To keep the activity simple, make sure these nouns all have regular plural forms. For a more advanced activity, include irregular verb forms such as child, man, or mouse. Explain to the child that adding –s or –es to the end of a word is the way that we show that there are more than one of that object. Put the pictures on the table and have the child finish the phrase one _____, two ______ for each picture, using the correct singular and plural forms. (Some picture cards can be found at the end of this book.)

To make this activity more challenging, take a coin and put a sticker on each side labeled "s" for singular or "p" for plural. Alternatively, you might put one dot on one side and several dots on the other to indicate one and more than one. Have the child flip the coin and give the correct form for each picture card.

Ask your child to complete these sentences.

(If the child cannot produce the target sentence structure accurately for any of the exercises, model the correct response for the child and have him repeat it. Some children may require extensive practice repeating words or phrases before they are ready to attempt to produce them independently. )

· I have a little dog. My friend has two big ___________.

· Mary has a spot of paint on her arm. Fred has three __________.

· I stubbed my toe. On each foot, I have five _________.

· I have a can. You have three ________.

· I have a jelly bean. You have ten ___________.

· This table has a chair. That table has two __________.

· Sue has a cookie. Megan has two ___________.

· Let’s read a book. Let’s read some ___________.

· I want a peach. This is a basket of __________.

· Would you like a drink? The ladies would like some ___________.

· This is one cup. This is a set of ____________.

· Here is one shoe. Here is a pair of ___________.

· I have a puppy. My friend’s dog has a litter of _____________.

· Jill picked a flower. Her garden has a lot of ____________.

Ask your child to complete these sentences. (-es endings)

· My house is red. My street has a lot of red ___________.

· This flower is a rose. The garden has a lot of red ___________.

· I filled my glass. I filled the cabinet with ___________.

· The school bus is yellow. At school, there are a lot of __________.

· Put the toy back in the box. Put three toys in three __________.

· I put my dish in the sink. After dinner, we will wash all the __________.

Ask your child to complete these phrases and sentences. (Irregular plurals)

· One fish, two ________ (fish).

· One child, two _________.

· One goose, two _________.

· One wife, two _________.

· One shelf, two _________.

· One woman, some _________.

· One tooth, many _________.

· One deer, three _________.

· One sheep, a flock of _________.

· I cut my foot. I wear shoes on my __________.

· My father is a man. He plays golf with some other ____________.

· I have a pet mouse that had babies. Now we have five _________.

· There is one calf in the barn. In the field, there are six ________.

· Use this knife to cut your sandwich. Always be careful with _________.

· This is a pretty leaf. I jumped in a pile of _________.

Complete these sentences with the plural form of any word.

· I have two _________.

· I want to eat some _________.

· We went to the zoo to see the _________.

· Somebody stole all of the _________.

· I can’t find both of my _________.

· I counted six _________.

· Eat all of your _________.

· At the store, we bought four _________.

· Aunt May sent me some _________.

Language Lessons and the series of Super Star Speech books, which focus on articulation disorders, are available at Superstarspeech.com.

Sometimes parents focus so much on their children acquiring “speech” that they neglect to focus on what is even more important: “communication.”

This article at Autism Speaks has some very good suggestion for encouraging language development in nonverbal children and adolescents with autism, including:

1. Encouraging play and social interaction

2. Imitate your child

3. Focus on nonverbal communication

Read more at: http://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2013/03/19/seven-ways-help-your-nonverbal-child-speak

The /h/ sound is not covered in the Super Star Speech books because very few children have difficulty with this sound. Those who do generally have hearing impairment or velo-pharyngeal incompetence (caused by a cleft palate). If your child does have difficulty with this sound, here are a few tips to help you teach it.

/H/ is produced by constricting the vocal folds enough to impede airflow, but not enough to make a voiced sound. The mouth, tongue and lips are not involved, but usually take the shape of the vowel sound that follows the /h/.

  • Have the child practice breathing forcefully by saying /h/ or “huh” against a scrap of paper, feather, mirror, or lighted candle. This will give him visual cues as to the forcefulness of breath needed.
  • Practice /h/ with vowels, such as “ha ha” or “he he.”  Have him “whisper loudly” or “blow out”  the entire syllable.
  • Use ear training to help him discern the difference between a present or absent /h/ sound. Say words with or without the /h/ and have him listen for the /h/ and tell you whether it is present or missing.
  • If there is nasal emission of air with the /h/, holding a mirror under the nose can help to make the child aware of this. Holding the nose closed can help with production of more airflow, although this is certainly not a permanent solution.

Any of the picture cards from Super Star Speech or other source that contain the /h/ sound can be used for practice of /h/.

Almost every other consonant sound is covered in the Super Star Speech books.

I just got Super Star Speech–Expanded Edition back from the printer and am so happy with how it turned out!

P1020654

This newly expanded edition includes the content from ALL of the individual Super Star Speech books combined into one integrated 315 page book:
Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple
Super Star R and L
Super Star S, Z, and Sh
Super Star Ch, J, and Th
Super Star Speech Supplement


This volume includes an articulation test, instructions for teaching every speech sound, practice pages and drills  for every sound,  over 600 picture cards, and dozens of practice games. You will find this to be a huge resource for helping your child correct his or her speech errors.

Available at Super Star Speech for $39.95. Use "Dec12" for a 20% discount; good until 12-31.

Just published!

Language Lessons: From Listening Skills to Conversation

Language lessons-001

This Volume is available in e-book form at  Currclick for $9.95 until July 20 (reg. $12.95).

Language Lessons will not enable you to do actual "language therapy" with your child, as that is something that only a qualified speech language pathologist can provide. However, it includes over 140 pages of ideas and activities to use with your child that will help to improve his or her listening skills, memory, vocabulary, grammatical skills, and conversation.

Language Lessons includes:

·Exercises and activities to stimulate and improve language skills in children with normal or delayed language abilities.

·Additional practice exercises for children who are already in language therapy.

·Activities that are categorized by type, making them easy to use with children who have diagnosed or suspected delays in specific areas, such as auditory memory or vocabulary.

·Fun activities to do with your child. These shouldn’t be considered "work," but will hopefully provide enjoyable, yet useful, activities for parents and children to do together.

This is an excerpt from my new book, Language Lessons: From Listening Skills to Conversation. I expect to have it published and available for sale in early July.

Language lessons-001

Most children absorb the rules of grammar by listening to language and through occasional correction of mistakes. Some children do not easily pick up these rules on their own and will benefit from more methodical instruction. The exercises below are organized generally in order of earlier to later-developing concepts, although there is a great deal of overlap. Irregular forms or plural nouns and past tense verbs may not be fully mastered until age five or older. The pictures at the end of the book may be used for practice of many of these concepts.

If the child cannot produce the target sentence structure accurately for any of the exercises, model the correct response for the child and have him repeat it. Some children may require extensive practice repeating words or phrases before they are ready to attempt to produce them independently.

Plurals

Gather pictures of nouns. To keep the activity simple, make sure these nouns all have regular plural forms. For a more advanced activity, include irregular verb forms such as child, man, or mouse. Explain to the child that adding –s or –es to the end of a word is the way that we show that there are more than one of that object. Put the pictures on the table and have the child finish the phrase one _____, two ______ for each picture, using the correct singular and plural forms.

To make this activity more challenging, take a coin and put a sticker on each side labeled "s" for singular or "p" for plural. Alternatively, you might put one dot on one side and several dots on the other to indicate one and more than one. Have the child flip the coin and give the correct form for each picture card.

Ask your child to complete these sentences.

· I have a little dog. My friend has two big ___________.

· Mary has a spot of paint on her arm. Fred has three __________.

· I stubbed my toe. On each foot, I have five _________.

· I have a can. You have three ________.

· I have a jelly bean. You have ten ___________.

· This table has a chair. That table has two __________.

· Sue has a cookie. Megan has two ___________.

· Let’s read a book. Let’s read some ___________.

· I want a peach. This is a basket of __________.

· Would you like a drink? The ladies would like some ___________.

This is an interesting article about “vocal fry,” a voice disorder that seems to be popular to intentionally reproduce…

(CBS) Are young women’s voices sounding a bit more "creaky" these days? New research suggests lots of young women are taking a lead from pop stars Ke$ha and Britney Spears by rolling their voice into low, creaky, back-of-the-throat sounding vibrations.

It’s known as "vocal fry" among speech experts, and celebrities including Kim Kardashian are accused of fueling its presence in young women. The study’s authors say vocal fry is sometimes considered a speech impediment, but they and their colleagues are hearing it more than ever.

Read the rest at: CBS News.

I just published another Super Star Speech book at Currclick.

super star supplement cover-small

Super Star Speech Supplement contains 40 practice pages that are intended to supplement Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple, which includes many pages of information for the parent, instructions for teaching each sound, picture cards, and more. The practice pages and games in Super Star Speech: Speech Therapy Made Simple are "generic" ones that are adaptable to any sound. This new volume provides additional sound-specific practice pages for p, b, t, d, k, g, ng, f, v, blends, and final consonants as well as a few additional activities that can be used to practice any sound.

I haven’t included practice pages for s, z, ch, sh, th, r, j, or l because these sounds are fully covered in Super Star R and L, Super Star Ch, J, and Th, and Super Star S, Z, and Sh.

The e-book format makes it easy to print just the pages that your child needs at any one time. My hope is that this supplement will make Super Star Speech an even better help to you while working to improve your child’s speech patterns!

Super Star Speech Supplement will be normally priced at $7.50, but I’ve set it at an introductory price of $4.00 until December 19.

It’s something every parent can’t wait to hear —their child’s first word. But for Brooke and Melisha Stafford, the wait would be longer than normal with their second son, Grant, 3, a bright-eyed, energetic boy whose older brother, Wil, 5, was an early talker.

“Grant would never talk,” Melisha said. “Wil talked so early for his age. Grant would never talk at all. He didn’t even babble. We just thought he was quiet.”

Read the rest of this very interesting article here.

My child is two and only says 10 words. What can I do?

My child was very slow to talk and seems behind other children of his age. Do you have any ideas for how to help him at home?

First, if your child has noticeable delays, please arrange to have a speech and language evaluation done. This can often be done free by your local school system or Child Find system. Private SLP’s are certainly another (possibly faster) option. If there is a local university that has a speech pathology program, they probably have an inexpensive clinic there. My posts on Reading to Your Child , Stimulating Your Baby’s Language Skills,  and Language Stimulation Ideas for Toddlers may give you  some more ideas. Any child, with or without language delays, can benefit from a stimulating environment. It is also important for a child to have language therapy if necessary because language deficits can last for years, affecting future academic performance and social skills.

My child had many ear infections as a toddler. Is this likely to affect his speech development?

Yes, it certainly may. While many children have frequent ear infections with no noticeable affect on their speech and language skills, other children are not so fortunate. When children (or adults) have fluid in the middle ear, it causes a mild hearing loss. Sounds are likely to sound muffled and words can be difficult to understand. If this continues for weeks or months, the child may not hear the differences between some speech sounds, impeding his ability to learn to produce them correctly. Or he or she may show vocabulary or syntax (grammar) deficits because  he wasn’t hearing high-quality speech at crucial learning times. The first three years of life are very important for language learning, so make sure your child is able to hear well. If your child has struggled with frequent ear infections, be alert to the possibility of delayed speech or language. It is important to both correct the hearing problem if possible and to help the child catch up in his language skills as early as possible!

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