Correct Placement and Systematic Therapy

August 25, 2018 12:00 am Published by

I returned to school this past week starting in a new rural district in Central California. My school is a small pre-K to 8th grade school. When I met my students for the first time, I was dismayed to see some of the older kids who still had frontal lisps, lateral lisps and no /r/ sounds.

I had kind of a bad feeling beforehand seeing the materials of the previous therapist which included the articulation decks for each sound. I will explain later.

None of these kids had a clue what the correct placement should be for their various errors. This leads into some important points:
Students need to have correct placement and know what their correct placement is before they can say their sounds correctly;
They need to practice their correct placement in a coarticulatory context, so they will transfer quickly into conversational speech;
“Words” ideally should be non-words, so they can have minimal changes from word to word in order to develop the correct motor pattern for the error sound;
These non-words should be practiced thousands of times to make sure that the correct placement is solid.

So, I spent our first sessions developing correct placement using various techniques and infant tongue depressors for placement and stabilization. When some of the kids got it, we used non-words like BEETSEET for a frontal or lateral lisp which facilitate correct placement and is a coarticulatory context. We then practiced making minimal changes from word to word (BEETSEET, MITSEET, WEITSEET, etc.) to develop this correct motor pattern. Using an articulation deck and pulling words out at random without any rhyme or reason, is not going to develop the correct motor pattern. And finally, over the coming weeks, my students will be practicing these non-words over and over until their placement pattern is solid and then move into real phrases, sentences and conversation.

Stephen Sacks

Upcoming presentations are September 24 in Fremont, CA and September 25 in Elk Grove, CA. Here is the link:

I am also planning to do a live 6 hr. webinar (two 3 hr. evenings for CEUs in December. Keep watching the website: and details will be in upcoming newsletters.

Because I want SLPs from all over to use and understand my program, I have a .6 CEU ASHA webinar that is basically the same as my live presentations. Go to the SATPAC website for details. Here is the link:

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