Children under four with speech delays or disorders often present with Final Consonant Deletion, making their speech hard to understand. When a child with Final Consonant Deletion says, “I saw a duck and some fish at the park,” it might sound like, “I saw a du and suh fi a the par.”
As speech pathologists, one of the hardest things is knowing which approach to use to tackle this pattern. The truth is, there is no one “right” way. Through evidence, experience, and getting to know the child, we can start to think about what might work for them.
MAKING IT MAKE SENSE TO YOUNGER CHILDREN
One way to help a child understand the concept of correcting their Final Consonant Deletion is through metaphors and metaphonological cues. In other words, helping them learn the rule by calling final sounds in words “tail sounds” and linking this idea to something they already have knowledge of – animals and their tails!
This is one of my ways to help the rule “make sense” for younger learners.
Our recently updated product, the Final Consonant Deletion Tail Sound Packet, has everything you need to teach and consolidate this phonological rule for younger children.
My personal favourite activity is the Tail Sound Puzzle. This can be a POWERFUL visual. It can help your students see the concept, and when they get it – it is so exciting! As children make the puzzle, they say the animal’s name, making sure to say it’s “tail sound”.
If the child deletes the final tail, I take the ‘tail’ picture away and tell them that they have forgotten to say the animal’s tail sound.
If my student isn’t aware that what they are saying doesn’t make sense, and they are not “hearing” that they are deleting the last sound in a word (or animal’s name), we’ll do some Listening for Tail Sound tasks.
As the SLP, I will alternate saying the the animal’s name with (sheep) and without (shee) its “tail sound”, and have the child match it to the board. It’s a fun way to develop the child’s awareness of sounds in words.
Once my students understand this “tail sound” concept, I love sending these Draw the Tail Sound sheets for home practice (I’ve even uploaded them onto my iPad!). Your child will have five practice attempts at saying the name of the animal WITH its tail sound before they can ‘draw’ the tail on the animal.
It’s an interactive and engaging activity that my students really enjoy… especially when they can draw any type of tail they like!
Another activity that can easy to do in small groups or for home practice are the Match the Tail Sound tasks.
Your child will practice saying the animal’s name with its tail sound, and then draw a line to “find its tail”.
If the child forgets and says “la_” for “lamb”, you might point to the lamb’s tail on the right hand side and say, “Oops, you forgot your tail sound when you said lamb. There is an “m” sound at the end”.
Adventures in Speech Pathology creates speech therapy materials that you download as a digital file, and then print to use with your students.