Many parents come to my practice to say that the child talks everything with the T, since certain phonemes predominate in its phonological repertoire: frequently T and P because they are primitive phonemes in order of acquisition. Depending on the degree of unintelligibility, these children tend to become easily frustrated and occasionally this linguistic difficulty can impact their behavior, showing anger or tantrums because they are not understood by the environment. I'll tell you how you can help them!
During language development, children use a number of strategies to simplify speech while they are appropriating the phonological system: chain of sounds that make up words. These strategies are called simplification phonological processes and are observed from 18 months to around 4 years of age, where they gradually disappear.
What happens when these simplifying phonological processes are not resolved or continue after the child's 4 years? When the phonological processes persist in time (after 4 years) we speak of a phonological disorder.
These children present good comprehension and communicative intention, but a reduced phonological repertoire is observed: they omit, substitute or assimilate phonemes, their oral expression being unintelligible. Example:
- Substitutions: S for T (caTa per caSa), (Tapo per Sapo).
- Omissions of phonemes or syllables: baco for boat or maposa for butterfly.
- Assimilations papato by shoe tomorrow by banana.
Phonological disorders involve changes in the transmission of meaning and cause a breakdown in communication. The origin of phonological disorders is central, linguistic in nature. Difficulties occur in auditory perception, organization and discrimination, affecting the mechanisms of conceptualization of sounds and the relationship between signifier and signified.
Phonetic disorders or dyslalias are caused by a difficulty in articulation. They are produced by an organic or functional alteration in the organs involved in the production of speech: tongue, lips, etc. Ex: R for D- L or S with lingual interposition (bony).
It is key to direct treatment to differentiate these disorders, since in phonological disorders the objectives will focus on auditory discrimination, differentiation of phonological contrasts, eg: C – T, FP (these are obtained from the analysis of the phonological processes used by the child ) and phonological awareness.
Emphasis will be placed on the acquisition of new phonological contrasts and not only the production of sounds, as would be the case with dyslalias. The child must undergo a process of discrimination and recognition of phonological contrasts in order to overcome the existing phonological processes.
In the approach, the phonological processes to work are selected through functional activities always prioritizing the communicative exchange.
Parents should be very attentive to the child's development and consult a professional in the following cases:
- Children who at 4 years of age present an unintelligible language, 50% of their productions are understood.
- They only understand him at home or people close to the child.
- They get frustrated or refuse to talk, interfering with their behavior.
- If at the age mentioned above they use few phonemes or some predominate in their oral expression. Ex: they use a lot the T, C, P or some other phoneme.
As a first point, it is essential to guarantee your hearing, mild hearing loss due to the presence of seromucosal otitis or tubal dysfunction could alter the discrimination of some phonemes and affect phonological development. After we eliminate this option, I will detail some tips:
- Provide a leisurely speaking model, using short sentences, with a clear and precise pronunciation.
- Position yourself face to face, favoring eye contact so that the child can obtain visual as well as auditory information.
- Provide the correct phonological model immediately. Example: The child says: 'The Busano is amadillo', the adult responds with the correct model: 'I love that yellow Worm'.
Important!!!! Use, but not abuse of this strategy, surely there will be other instances of play and interaction in which the child may incidentally hear these words again.
As for games to develop attention and auditory discrimination, here are some fun suggestions to do at home.
- Sound bingo: They can be everyday sounds from the street (horns, motorcycles, cars, train), from the house (taps with water, boiling kettle, doorbell), nature, animals, etc.
- Games associated with body movements: perform a certain action according to the syllable they hear: every time I hear TA I clench my fists, every time I hear PA I open and close my hand.
- The dance of the chairs: children go around the chairs arranged in a circle while the music plays and when the music stops they must find a chair and sit down.
- Songs and stories where you have to discriminate and reproduce sounds.
And for phonological awareness, note these ideas:
- Listen, recognize and invent rhymes. You can use stories, verses, poems, songs, make up rhymes with the names of friends or family.
- Say long and short wordsand match them with a visual image or object. Ex: butterfly is loooong, so I put it on top of the bus (long), Sol is short, so I put it on top of the car (short).
- Rabbits jump: jump like rabbits by the number of syllables the word has. Ex: PE RRO, the child must make 2 jumps, MA RI PO SA must perform 4 jumps.
- Take advantage of every moment of everyday life: food, bath, go to sleep, travel by car, to play with sounds, through onomatopoeia, rhymes, verses, songs and whatever comes to mind.
- Generate interest and motivation for the sounds of language it will allow the child to appropriate the phonological system. The best ally will ALWAYS be the game and the interaction.
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