My Decision

June 16, 2017 12:00 pm Published by

I began my career in 1980 and went to my elementary school for my first day as an SLP. I was very excited! When the day was over I felt really discouraged and motivated at the same time. I realized that I didn’t know how to help many of my articulation kids and particularly the /r/ kids. I said to myself, “They are paying me lots of money and I don’t know what I’m doing!” But it motivated me to begin a quest to become an expert in remediating articulation/phonology disorders. Although I learn new things all the time in my 37th year working in the schools, I’ve felt quite competent for the last 20 years or so.

I’ve been presenting workshops to other SLPs, SLPAs and parents for the past 12 years. This has been exciting and instructive getting lots of praise for the /s/ and /r/ information I share as well as trying to figure out how to make my workshops better and more relevant. I’ve gotten lots of constructive feedback and now feel confident that my revised workshops next school year are going to be the best I’ve ever done.

So, I decided to only work one day a week in the schools next year and will travel anywhere in the country to do workshops. If your school district or organization would like me to come and present, I’m available!

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

Would you like a free SATPAC Program and free .6 hr. ASHA CEUs? If you are interested in hosting a live summer workshop, contact me at steve@satpac.com

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: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

The are two 3 hr. webinars (Using the SATPAC Approach with Highly Unintelligible Middle School Students and The 7 Stages of Phoneme Development) available for viewing. As always, you can earn ASHA CEUs. Each webinar is $49 or $79 for both.

Teaching R the Way I Do – (Part 2)

April 16, 2017 12:00 pm Published by

In the last newsletter, I talked a lot about the necessity for palatal constriction to make a correct /r/ sound. Research using MRI images by Suzanne Boyce in Secord, Boyce, Donohue, Fox and Shine’s book, Eliciting Sounds, shows that to make a correct /r/ sound, there also needs to be pharyngeal constriction!

The MRI of the /ɑ/ (p. 146 Secord et al.) shows excellent pharyngeal constriction as you can see that that the root of the tongue is closing off the pharyngeal area. With the /i/ sound as you can see in the next image, you get a high arched dorsum. You also get a wide tongue with the lateral margins on the back molars leading to excellent palatal constriction. According to Boyce, the vocal tract is narrowed by the blade plus a part of the dorsum. But with /i/, there is no pharyngeal constriction as you can see how open the pharyngeal area is.

Having taught /r/ successfully for years and having no knowledge of pharyngeal constriction, it occurred to me that the success of the facilitating contexts EERGA, EERSHA and EERDA (which I use) has to do with coarticulation. The student is anticipating moving into the /ᴂ/ which is very close to the /ɑ/ pictured here and thus achieves pharyngeal constriction. In fact, Boyce pointed out to me that this is probably the case from the evidence in her chapter that the /ɑ/ probably shapes pharyngeal constriction.

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

Would you like a free SATPAC Program and free .6 hr. ASHA CEUs? If you are interested in hosting a live summer workshop, contact me at steve@satpac.com

My upcoming workshops are in Baldwin Park, CA May 5, Anaheim May 6 and Elk Grove May 15. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/sacks-workshops/

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: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

The are two 3 hr. webinars (Using the SATPAC Approach with Highly Unintelligible Middle School Students and The 7 Stages of Phoneme Development) available for viewing. As always, you can earn ASHA CEUs. Each webinar is $49 or $79 for both.

Teaching R the Way I Do – (Part 1)

February 16, 2017 12:00 pm Published by

Through much of my career, I was unaware of various /r/ positions. I just did whatever I could to get the sound. That all changed when I started going to oral-motor workshops where I learned about the back or bunched /r/ and the retroflex /r/.

I teach the /r/ sound typically starting with the post-vocalic /r/ and always using the back /r/ because it is a more economical movement than the retroflex /r/ in most contexts. Over the years, I’ve had much better success with generalization/transfer with the back /r/. I use facilitating contexts like EERGA, EERSHA or EERDA. Through coarticulation, EERGA encourages the tongue to be placed back for /r/, EERSHA more central and EERDA more in the front. Because all kids have different oral structures, one of these productions will typically be significantly better than the others.

I begin by using infant tongue depressors for placement and stabilization. The one under the tongue (starting holding the tongue high and pushing straight back on EER-see picture) helps develop the correct placement while 3 tongue depressors taped together and held with the back molars stabilize the jaw. Without the tongue depressors, I frequently get a tongue position which drops as the jaw drops and this typically sounds like EE-YA/EER.

The reason I start with EER is this; with the /i/ sound, you get a high arched dorsum and a wide tongue with the lateral margins on the back molars leading to excellent palatal constriction.

The first 3 SATPAC practice lists all begin with EER to get a consistently correct motor pattern with the high arched dorsum and the wide tongue. For list 4, all the /r/ sounds are said. It is not unusual for students to have difficulty with sounds like AR, OR and OOR for a couple of reasons. First, the starting position up to this list has always been /i/ with the high arched dorsum. For AR, OR and OOR, the tongue starts down and needs to be elevated to be said successfully. Many students leave the tongue down leading to an incorrect /r/. Second, they often leave their lips rounded for OR and OOR and again say an incorrect /r/. At this point I have them go back to the big smile that they were doing with EER. All the various post-vocalic /r/ positions are diphthongs of ER. So EER is really EE-ER, AR is A-ER, OR is O-ER, etc. The problem at this point appears to be that the lax tongue for OR doesn’t lead to a wide enough tongue for palatal constriction. By having the student say O-ER transitioning from lip rounding to smile will lead to the correct /r/ sound. Note that this is not the natural way that we say OR. Typically we leave the lips rounded. But at this point, the student needs to work on the wide tongue for palatal constriction. Over time, as the student develops this consistent motor pattern with the wide tongue, this will become unnecessary and they will be able to use normal lip rounding and still maintain palatal constriction.

Next month: Teaching R the Way I Do – (Part 2)

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

I am available to present for professional develop both live and via live webinars. Contact me steve@satpac.com for more information.

My upcoming workshops are in Monrovia, CA May 5, Anaheim May 6 and Chico May 15 and I will be presenting at the CSHA Convention on March 17. 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: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

The are two 3 hr. webinars (Using the SATPAC Approach with Highly Unintelligible Middle School Students and The 7 Stages of Phoneme Development) available for viewing. As always, you can earn ASHA CEUs. Each webinar is $49 or $79 for both.

Homework

December 16, 2016 12:00 pm Published by

Homework is essential for successful speech remediation. As Pam Marshalla wrote in her book “Carryover Techniques”, In building any skill or change in behavior, rehearsal, practice and drill are absolutely necessary. Is it possible to develop excellence in sports, music, cooking or modifying speech without rehearsal, practice and drill?

I did some figuring and discovered that if a student is receiving speech services in a group of three for 30 minutes, once a week, the student is getting speech for .5% of his waking hours. The odds are that the other 99.5% of the time, the student is using his speech incorrectly. Just a few minutes of practice a few days a week can make a big difference in shifting this 99.5 percent from incorrect to correct speech.

How should we deal with students who do not do their homework? I frequently have this problem. The way I operate is that I give homework but don’t ask that it be returned. The reason for this is that I’ve learned over the years that it’ s not worth hassling with because most kids do not return their homework. I don’t want to waste time coercing them with things like sticker charts. I simply go by the students’ progress. If they are not progressing after 3-4 sessions, I call their parents. Often, the parents are not getting the homework. I stress for example, that I send a homework paper every Tuesday so check in the backpack for that. SATPAC lists can be emailed through a feature on the lists which is another way to deal with that problem.

I’ve presented many workshops where I’m asked what if they don’t do their homework due to various things like the parents being too busy with work or not understanding what to do. Those are legitimate concerns but my experience has been that there is always someone the student can practice with. At school there are classroom aides, parent volunteers, super star students from other classes, etc. At home there might be siblings, aunts, uncles or friends.

One of the keys to successful homework is to send home only what the student can do accurately. So in SATPAC, if we are working on list 2 in therapy, the student is practicing list 1 at home. I recently got an email from an SLP who is using an innovative method for her students’ speech homework. It is called Google Classroom which her district uses. She records the SATPAC lists and her students are able to access them at home and repeat the nonsense words after her.

So make sure you give homework and you will notice how much of a difference it makes in speeding up the remediation process!

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

I am available to present for professional develop both live and via live webinars. Contact me steve@satpac.com for more information.

My upcoming workshops are in Tucson January 19 and in Tempe January 20 and 21. I just added the Saturday, January 20 workshop due to demand. There is also a May 6 workshop in Anaheim. 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 new SATPAC website for details. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

The are two 3 hr. webinars (Using the SATPAC Approach with Highly Unintelligible Middle School Students and The 7 Stages of Phoneme Development) available for viewing. As always, you can earn ASHA CEUs. Each webinar is $49 or $79 for both.

Wishing you all a happy holiday season and for a more peaceful loving world!

Playing Games in Therapy

November 16, 2016 12:00 pm Published by

In the last newsletter, I talked about speech kids transferring to my schools and when I ask them what they do in therapy, they typically reply “Play games.” Games are fun and kids like them but what is critical is keeping the focus on speech. I will incorporate games into therapy after the target sounds have been established and practiced and are ready to be transferred into conversation.

In my workshops I ask if the games promote the following key elements of the SATPAC Approach: 1) lots of correct productions of the target sound; 2) natural prosody and 3) using a conversational rate. If they do, they can be valuable motivators; if not, they can waste everyone’s time.

Here are my 5 favorite games: 1) Barrier games; 2) Tally Counter Contest; 3) Board Games w/preschoolers; 4) Home Activities w/pictures and 5) Story Creation.

Here are my 5 most UN-favorite games: 1) Fishing for Pictures; 2) Picture Cards w/Phoneme Loaded Target Sounds; 3) Board Games; 4) Making stuff – crafts, pictures, etc. and 5) Puzzles.

(To see descriptions and comments of each game, go to this link: https://app.box.com/s/m8h9kd4q6ri3sbsxz25bgg04sjyvzlsn )

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

I am available to present for professional develop both live and via live webinars. Contact me steve@satpac.com for more information.

My upcoming workshops are in Tucson January 19 and Phoenix January 20. 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. However, unlike my live presentations, the webinar is less expensive. You can get the webinar and the iSATPAC Program which typically sells for $199, both for $150. Go to the new SATPAC website for details. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

The are two 3 hr. webinars (Using the SATPAC Approach with Highly Unintelligible Middle School Students and The 7 Stages of Phoneme Development) available for viewing. As always, you can earn ASHA CEUs. Each webinar is $49 or $79 for both.

Also, I’ve developed a referral incentive program for my 6 hr. online webinar for SATPAC owners. Email me steve@satpac.com if you would like the details.

Q: What Do You Do in Speech?   A:  Play Games!

October 1, 2016 5:20 pm Published by

I just finished a series of workshops and part of my presentation has to do with metacognition.  The simple definition is being able to think about your thinking.  I use it in a big way in speech so that the student can understand what he/she is doing or not doing to remediate speech correctly.  So for example, if I have an /r/ student and we are working on the SATPAC facilitating context word EERGA, and the student says EE-A-GA, I will say to the student, “You said EEAGA instead of EERGA, what happened?”  Because the student knows that in order to say EERGA correctly, he/she needs to keep the dorsum high for palatal constriction, move the tongue back on the top teeth and keep the tongue wide, he/she analyzes what happened.  I will frequently get the response, “My tongue dropped.” which is probably correct.  I ask the student to try EERGA again and it is usually a better production.

This metacognition is really helpful to the student and can be applied to all aspects of the student’s life-not just in speech.  In talking to kids and adults I know who have completed speech therapy, they rarely are aware of what they did to remediate their issues.  It is as if we as SLPs did something magical to them and they were fixed.  By using this metacognitive approach, it shifts the responsibility to the student and when they finish, they also get all the praise; “You learned what you needed to do and you did it-congratulations!”

Which brings me to a conversation that I will have with my students at times.  I’ll ask what they are working on and what they need to do to say the sound correctly.  I expect my students to know this information.  When I get a new student to my school from another SLP, I always start there; “What are you working on? and the most frequent response I get is:  I DON’T KNOW.  I then ask what they do in speech and the most frequent response I get is (you guessed it):  PLAY GAMES.

Needless to say, this is not a very positive reflection upon us as professionals.

NEXT NEWSLETTER:         How to Appropriately Incorporate Fun into Therapy While Keeping the Focus on Speech.

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

P.S.  If you noticed that my picture changed, it’s because today is my dog Remy’s 6th birthday!

Our new website is up!  It looks just like the old one but there is a world of difference in its functionality.  The free CEUs are now back too.

I got a recent inquiry asking if I had any plans to come to NY.  Because I live in Central California and still work part-time, it’s difficult unless I get a specific offer which can then be arranged.  This recently happened with a group from the Washington, DC area.

However,  I do have upcoming workshops in Tucson January 19 and Phoenix January 20 as well as Anaheim on February 4.  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.  However, unlike my live presentations, the webinar is less expensive.  You can get the webinar and the iSATPAC Program which typically sells for $199, both for $150.  Go to the new SATPAC website for details.  Here is the link:  https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

I am available to present for professional develop both live and via live webinars. Contact me steve@satpac.com for more information.

The are two 3 hr. webinars (Using the SATPAC Approach with Highly Unintelligible Middle School Students
and The 7 Stages of Phoneme Development) available for viewing.  As always, you can earn ASHA CEUs.  Each webinar is $49 or $79 for both.

Also, I’ve developed a referral incentive program for my online webinar for SATPAC owners.  Email me steve@satpac.com if you would like the details.

COARTICULATION

August 26, 2015 2:04 am Published by

Hello!

 

This is the second in a series of semi-regular monthly newsletters suggesting helpful tips for remediation of articulation/phonology disorders.  If you missed the first one, it is on my website: https://satpac.com/newsletter.

 

This issue of the newsletter will focus on another element of my approach which involves the use of coarticulation.  The SATPAC Approach is based on the idea that when we as SLPs work to remediate sounds/phonological processes, the therapy should be as close to conversational speech as possible and to include the elements that we use in conversational speech (i.e., coarticulation, normal rate, natural prosody, etc.)  I find that there is a disconnect between the way most SLPs do therapy and conversational speech.  That is, we tend to work on sounds with either the sound in the initial or final position. Yet when we speak in conversation, the target sound is usually neither first nor last but somewhere in between. For that reason, the SATPAC Program always has the target sound embedded in the middle of the words.  Here are some examples:

 

1)    For /s/, I frequently use the nonword BEETSEET.  Notice how the target /s/ sound is imbedded in the word and is in the prevocalic position meaning that it is followed by a vowel.

 

2)    For /r/, I frequently use the nonword EERGA.  The /r/ is in the postvocalic position in this case.  In practice, it is much easier to stop with the /r/ at the end of the word than to have to transition into other sounds.  Coarticulation from the beginning makes it easier for the student to make that transition. (Note:  In this case, it is actually easier with the GA following EER because it is a facilitating context.  As the SATPAC lists progress, the GA goes away and /r/ is said in various contexts).

 

3)    If I’m working on s-clusters, I have the student say the word “A” before the cluster so they have to transition from an open mouth position for the “A” to a closed mouth position for the /s/ (e.g., a spoon, a stop, a sketch, etc.).  Again, it is much easier to start with the /s/ in every case but much better practice to be making the transition from the ‘A” to /s/.

 

To see details about /r/ and /s/ remediation and more information about my approach, I offer free ASHA CEUs on my website at https://satpac.com, or you are welcome to just watch the presentation.

Subtle R Errors

March 15, 2015 2:02 am Published by

If you use my techniques for /r/, you might have immediate success. However, there are 3 subtle things that often go wrong. The first relates to stabilization of the sides of the tongue against the back molars. One of the reasons I start teacher /r/ with EE in front (i.e., EERGA) is that the tongue stays wide for EE. This helps keep the tongue stabilized on the molars by keeping it wide. Because this /r/ is visible (using a flashlight), you can observe if the student is keeping the tongue on the molars as they say EERGA. This is critical as if there is no stabilization, there will not be the necessary constriction to get the /r/ sound.
Another subtle problem has to do with the height of the dorsum (mid-tongue area). Often students are doing everything correct except the dorsum is not high enough to get the /r/ sound. To remedy this, I will put an applicator stick with a cotton tip midway between the hard and soft palate. Using a mirror and flashlight, ask the student to touch the cotton ball with the dorsum. Typically they don’t get the tongue high enough to touch it but the effort to raise the dorsum higher than usual leads to a correct /r/ sound. There should be discussion about why they got a good /r/ after doing this. Another technique to raise the dorsum involves making the tongue bunchy and sliding it back and forth keeping it as high as possible.
I used to have a bunch of /r/ kids who I referred to as my “lifers”. I was not making adequate progress with them and careful examination revealed that they all had subtle problems with jaw stabilization. When I got them to stabilize their jaws consistently, they got it! I used infant tongue depressors as well as a mirror when they were removed to emphasize the consistent jaw stabilization.
Stephen Sacks SATPAC Speech
Upcoming workshops will be in Sacramento and San Jose at the end of April and Kansas City and St. Louis in October. Go to www.satpac.com to see the specifics as they will be posted soon.

Serendipity

January 15, 2015 10:23 pm Published by

I’ve always liked that word. The definition is “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident”.

In November, I did a 5 day, 5 city presentation schedule for BER. It was exhilarating and exhausting. What I didn’t expect was that the more I did my presentations, the more I thought about the SATPAC Program and what could be changed to make it better. We are in the process of a major overhaul so the workshops were very helpful in being able to pinpoint ways to make the program better.

For example, there is often a breakdown for postvocalic /r/ when the student transitions from the final Practice Phase list which includes sentences like “The boy bought a new EERGA.” to the Transfer/Generalization Phase phrase list (dear Barney). I realized after one of the workshops that there needs to be a list to practice to help make this transition and that list will be part of the program soon.

On a different topic, last summer I did a couple of workshops that took place in people’s living rooms. The host attended the workshop for free and got a free SATPAC Program and the other participants received a reduced rate as I did not need to pay for an expensive conference room. I did this in my home state in Southern California last year but this year I would be willing to travel. If you are interested, let me know and we can work out the details.

Stephen SacksSATPAC Speech

Workshops:I will be doing two workshops in Houston and Dallas on Feb. 19 – 20. Details are here. Future workshops will be in Sacramento and San Jose in May and Kansas City and St. Louis in October.

Making One Change in Your Therapy

September 16, 2014 10:27 pm Published by

In my 34 year career, I’ve done a lot of articulation mentoring of other SLPs. One of the most consistent issues I see is that practice tends to be too slow. When I first developed the SATPAC Program, I had kids complete the program and they were not transferring their correct productions into conversation. I realized that I was taking them through the program too slowly.

Because this is such an important issue, I’m repeating most of my April 2013 column.

The SATPAC Approach is based on the idea that when we as SLPs work to remediate sounds/phonological processes, the therapy should be as close to conversational speech as possible and to include the elements that we use in conversational speech (i.e., coarticulation, normal rate, natural prosody, etc.).

Early in my career I was practicing the /s/ sound with a student and we were working on sentences. He was saying them at a slow rate: I wash with sssoap. I like to sssing. The bell rang and he said at a normal rate: Thee you later Mithter Thackth–Itth time for retheth!

Realizing that it is necessary to begin at the level where the student’s skills are, we often have to begin at a slow rate. However, the goal needs to be to practice at the same conversational rate that the student speaks.

With SATPAC, I follow a 3-part approach. First the target sound is established (Establishment Phase) in one context (for /s/ I frequently use the nonword BEETSEET). It is repeated over and over until the student is 95% accurate. Then the second step uses the target sound in many different contexts. In SATPAC, this is known as the Practice Phase. The student builds up to a conversational rate practicing systematic lists (140 beats per minute using a metronome). The third step is the Generalization/Transfer Phase where the student is now using his skill to practice phrases, sentences and conversation–all at a normal conversational rate.

If you have your students practice at a conversational rate, you will be pleased by how much quicker they transfer their skills into conversation.

Stephen SacksSATPAC Speech

Workshops: I will be doing two workshops in So. Cal October 3rd and 4th. Registration will be $59 or $159 with the purchase of the SATPAC Program (Program normally $150 by itself). SATPAC is a growing company and our computer program is being used by universities, hospitals, clinics and school districts all around the world. We are looking for people to market SATPAC in their geographical areas part-time on a commission basis. Contact steve@satpac.comsteve@satpac.com if you are interested or have friends or associates who might be.