Tagged "back of tongue"

Ask A Therapist: /h/ for /k/

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hi TalkTools,


I have a 6 year old male student who produces /h/ for /k/. He appears to have placement, and is able to produce /g/. However, we have not been successful in nearly a year of therapy with eliciting /k/. His voice is hoarse during conversational speech. His mother is not interested in visiting an Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor. Do you have any suggestions or theories? Thank you.




Hi Angela,

Based on what you have written he just is not associating tongue elevation with his "k" sound and instead is producing the 'h." I would work on "g" repetitively and throw in a whispered "k" in a sequence of sounds (having him repeat). I would try to get him in the right position over and over and over again and then switch quickly to the "k" and see if that works. Work on teaching "k" as the quiet sound. 

Other exercises you can try would be horn blowing, bubble blowing, and straw drinking. This will help to reinforce the back of tongue retraction that is important for that speech sound. Even though it seems he already has the placement with the "g," hopefully the repetition will help get him transitioned to the "k."

I hope these ideas help. Please let me know how it goes and write back with any other questions.

Have a great day.




Elizabeth Smithson, MSP, CCC-SLP is a Speech-Language Pathologist who has over 10 years of professional experience working with infants, children, adolescents and adults. She earned her Master of Speech Pathology at the University of South Carolina. Liz is also a Level 5 TalkTools® Trained Therapist. She has received specialized training in Oral Placement Therapy, Speech, Feeding, Apraxia, Sensory Processing Disorders, and PROMPT©. Liz works with clients with a wide range of disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  She works through her own private practice Elizabeth Smithson Therapy, LLC in the home setting and in the TalkTools® office in Charleston, SC.

Read more →

Ask a Therapist: Vocalic /r/

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hi Ms. Rosenfeld-Johnson,


I took your oral placement technique course in New York a few weeks ago. I have a few clients who have difficult with the /r/ and tried out the robot technique. A lot of those same kids also have trouble producing the glottal fry -- do you have any pointers for me?


Thanks so much! And thanks for your wealth of knowledge. Your course really changed the way I look at a lot of my kids!!



Hi Karen,

Thank you for your kind words about the class content. I love this therapy and hope to share its benefits with other SLPs who have not had the opportunity to learn the techniques through their schooling. To hear that my work has changed, and I hope, benefited the way you look at your clients is a true gift so I thank you for that.

As to your question.... I have two responses:

1) You can hold a jiggler vibrator next to the child's neck so he/she can feel extra vibration in the laryngeal area. Use the direction of turning on the motor in your throat as you ask the child to say the "ee" sound.

2) You will not need to teach the robot voice if the client can produce the required placement without the voice. It is only used if the client has trouble feeling the "back of tongue side spread" placement against the upper palate. I hope one of these options answers your question.


Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson, MS, CCC-SLP



Read more →