Arrrrgh! The articulation of /r/ can be so frustrating! Many students struggle to master the /r/ sound and its many variations. And for the speech therapists serving these students, remediating the /r/ sound can be particularly exasperating.
Challenges With /r/ Articulation
In dissertation research out of Duquesne University, Lynch says “/r/ articulation errors present a unique and confounding clinical challenge” that is “therapy-resistant,” and cites several factors that make mastering the articulation of /r/ especially difficult.
- The /r/ sound is widespread throughout our language – it is the fourth most frequent consonant sound in English.
- /r/ errors are among the most common speech sound errors in children, just behind /n/, /t/, and /s/.
- Peers may judge those who struggle with /r/ articulation, especially into adolescence and adulthood, leading to life-long social and academic impacts.
- Remediating /r/ articulation is complicated and is one of the most challenging goals for SLPs.
- /r/ articulation is one of the most neglected areas in speech therapy research, so finding effective techniques can be challenging for SLPs.
With the many different versions of the /r/ sound, it’s no wonder children struggle with articulation. The eight variations of /r/ listed by Ristuccia and Shine are just the beginning:
/er/: Ernie, buttercup, feather
/or/: Orville, corn, four
/ar/: Archie, farm, star
/air/: Erin, ferry, fair
/ire/: Ireland, fire, fireman
/ear/: Erie, cereal, deer
Prevocalic /r/: Rosa
SLP Resources for the Articulation of /r/
If you feel like you’ve been running in circles around the /r/ problem with your students, you’re not alone! Perhaps you’ve made great strides with one student only to find those strategies don’t work with other students. Maybe you’re an experienced SLP who could use a /r/efresher or more /r/esources for your toolbox. You might be an emerging speech therapist who wants to know where to begin. Our upcoming free webinar was designed for you, whether you’re a SLP newbie or a seasoned veteran!hHohH
Join us for this engaging webinar on the articulation of /r/. We’ll feature valuable tips, tools, resources and elicitation techniques to help your students master the /r/ sound.
Activities to Support Articulation of /r/
January 12, 2022
1 p.m., Pacific Time