Forward Momentum in Articulation Therapy, Part 1: Keeping the Ball Rolling

July 2, 2014 BY Kelly C. Bawden, MS, CCC-SLP

Momentum in Artic 1

Happy July! This is a month when we truly feel like it’s Summer with a capitol S. It’s hot, you’ve got the littlest bit of a flip-flop tan, and you are ever-so-aware that the kids have been out of school for a while. Aside from the certain (ahem) domestic bliss that accompanies long days without the structure of school, if you have a kiddo in your house who is receiving regular speech therapy during the school year, you might also be able to tell it’s summer by the little slips you hear in their articulation, or by the progress that has come to a screeching halt since they’ve been out of school. But hey! Progress on articulation doesn’t have to stop just because it’s summer! You can help keep forward momentum going so that your kiddo returns to therapy in the Fall ahead of where they left off in the Spring, and we’re gonna spend the month of July telling you how. We’ll start the series this week giving you a little bit of background about home practice, then spend the next few weeks giving you resources and activity ideas to keep that ball rolling.

It probably makes some logical sense to you that your child should practice their speech when not with their therapist. But we believe strongly in Evidence Based Practice (EBP) around here (and you should too!), so we have to ask, “What does the research tell us about articulation practice and progress?” Well, here’s what we know:

  • It is better for children who have speech disorders to receive intervention than no intervention at all, but there is limited evdence that any one approach is better than another (Baker & McLeod, 2011, p. 115).
  • It typically takes 15-20 hours to change a speech difference (Jacoby, et al, 2002)
  • Children must be engaged in monitoring their own articulation skills to make progress and to master their sounds in everyday conversation (Ertmer & Ertmer, 1998).
  • Mass practice is essential to progress, and trained adults (such as parents) can manage practice outside the therapy session (Skelton, 2004).
  • Children who practice their articulation at home are more likely to make progress in their everyday speech and on test measures (ASHA, 2014).

This is all good news! It tells us that, no matter how you do it, if you practice over the summer (or any other time), it will make a difference in your child’s progress. That’s it. Easy peasy. You’re totally going to do this. Your homework for the week is to decide which sound you’re going to tackle. You’re also going to have a conversation with Junior about his/her speech and how you’re both going to work on it a little bit this summer. This is your rally the troops, win one for the Gipper, We Are The Champions, etc. moment. Then, come on back here next week and we’ll give you some ideas for incorporating project-based speech practice into your days!

Updated: Read the entire series here.


  • Baker, E., & Mcleod, S. (2011). Evidence-Based Practice for Children With Speech Sound Disorders: Part 1 Narrative Review. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 42(2), 102-139.
  • Best Practices for Phonology and Articulation. (n.d.). Best Practices for Phonology and Articulation. Retrieved July 2, 2014, from
  • Ertmer, D., & Ertmer, P. (1998). Constructivist strategies in phonological intervention: Facilitating self-regulation for carryover. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 29, 67.
  • Jacoby, G. P. (2002). The Number of Individual Treatment Units Necessary to Facilitate Functional Communication Improvements in the Speech and Language of Young Children. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology,11(4), 370-380.
  • Pre-Kindergarten NOMS Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Pre-Kindergarten NOMS Fact Sheet. Retrieved July 2, 2014, from
  • Skelton, S. (2004, Summer). Motor-skill learning approach to the treatment of speech-sound disorders.. CSHA Magazine, 22, 8-9.
  • Speech Sound Disorders Treatment – Speech/Fluency. (n.d.). Speech Sound Disorders General Findings. Retrieved July 2, 2014, from