There is no right or wrong way to choose word targets when using the minimal pairs approach. Instead, you have some choices, which is a great thing!
The following are options that I consider when choosing my target sounds and words with minimal pairs:
- Targeting one sound representative of the pattern (e.g., “sw-w” minimal pairs if the child has ‘s’ cluster reduction)
- Targeting a specific position (e.g., the child might be more stimulable for a sound in the final position, so your word set would contain final position pairs only).
- Selecting targets in mixed positions (e.g., if targeting voicing, you might choose in initial and final position).
- Choosing multiple sounds representative of the pattern (e.g., if the child presents with stopping of ALL fricatives and affricates, you might select 2 pairs for each sound in your treatment set).
WHICH OPTION SHOULD I CHOOSE?
This really is an individual choice, and I would suggest basing your decision based on the child in front of you. Some things that I consider are:
- Stimulability. If the child is not stimulable for any fricatives of affricates, I would likely NOT target multiple sounds because they could get very frustrated!
- Personality and temperament. For resilient children who don’t give up when it is hard, I do consider mixed positions and sounds because it will likely generalize quickly across the pattern. If a child is reluctant to participate or gives up easily, I am more inclined to select one sound or position. I always keep in mind that I can expand my treatment set once we get into therapy.