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View Full Version : Speech- pronouncing R like W, TH like D



coloradoalice
11-09-2011, 09:14 PM
Just wondering what the speech people around here say about this. My son has outgrown all his baby speech behaviors except these two. He'll be 6 in Dec and I'm wondering if I should do anything about it or keep letting it go. Our family doc didn't say anything about it at his physical in September and he talked to him quite a bit so it was noticeable. The TH this is about 50/50, the R to W thing is constant though.

Thoughts?

dbmamaz
11-09-2011, 09:38 PM
Raven still has these issues. Raven was actually in the early intervention for speech briefly, but the therapists there said he really wasnt that bad, that he had a big enough vocab (even tho it was small enough to qualify for early intervention) and that he was willing to TRY to copy you and say things correctly. In kindergarten I asked his teacher, but the school speech therapist said he was still within normal range. I think that those two letters can take until 7 or 8 to be correct (i searched for it on line once). However, its hard on Raven because he really has trouble hearing the difference, so sounding out words is really hard. I try to gently correct him, but not too much because he gets mad. I try to focus on where my tongue and teeth are to make different sounds, and get him to put his tongue and teeth there too. The work we were doing with Language Smarts seemed to help, too - just doing some organized work with sounding things out and such. I did call a speech therapist I used once for Orion and really liked, but the cost was high. You should legally be able to get evaluation at the school, but insurance generally wont pay for speech therapy unless it is due to a brain injury or something like that.

coloradoalice
11-09-2011, 09:49 PM
Good to know! Has it had an effect with learning how to read? That's where I'm noticing it so much right now, working on phonics, teaching pronunciations, and I just started to wonder if it will make it hard for him to read.

Truth be told I don't want to worry about it and I don't want him to go to therapy or anything for it, he doesn't seem to notice it at all and it doesn't bother him at all. And I kind of like it, it's the last part of him being little.......... I don't want to handicap him because I think it's cute though. :)

speech mom
11-09-2011, 10:33 PM
"r" and "th" are both later developing sounds. It looks like your son is 5 from your signature. These sounds would still be developing at this age, not always there in conversational speech for many kids.
If you aren't worried about it and he isn't worried about it, as a speech pathologist I wouldn't worry about it at this age.

farrarwilliams
11-09-2011, 10:35 PM
Mushroom (who is 7) had this and he's still getting over it. It got a lot better when I worked with him on it, but then he slipped back a little and I was realizing I probably needed to focus on it again. But it did not require speech therapy. I just working with him on it and it got better. Easy as that - at least for my kid. It *has* effecting his reading though and it has definitely effected his spelling. I'm sure that it's part of why he has had more trouble learning than his twin.

raegan
11-10-2011, 12:51 AM
Khary has a tongue thrust and his 'th' sounds like a 'd' most of the time. BUT not nearly like it was before he lost (and re-grew) his front teeth. I realized that trying to correct a tongue thrust was pretty much pointless until ALL those front 8 teeth are gone and back. They're going to constantly want to be pushing against them. Then, when there's nothing there, they can't push against anything. When they grow back in (even quickly, I've found) the tongue is less inclined to push against them. If that makes sense. My older brother (3.5y older) had speech therapy for tongue thrust, and it corrected it enough that most people can understand him without issue--but *I* can hear it. I think that's why I didn't notice my son's thrust for so long (just before he turned 6, too!)--I was so used to hearing it, it didn't sound "wrong" to me. It was when he wasn't understandable to other kids that it struck me. He still has some speech issues, but we don't qualify for services, it's not covered, and we can't afford it. I remember my brother looking in a mirror to practice speech and practicing keeping his tongue at the top of his mouth by holding a little rubber band (think braces-size) there. I can do the side-by-side in the mirror thing for speech, and work on the tongue positioning most. I actually find we're doing some of this as we practice his phonics program, anyway.

As for the r/w...I know a bunch of kids with this one & like speech mom said, I wouldn't worry about them too much. If he can *hear* the differences, then I would think it wouldn't affect reading much; it's a motor/speech issue, not a decoding one. I know my younger son shows some signs of a little apraxia, but he can *hear* the differences between sounds--just can't *speak* them differently. (watch out if you repeat back what he's saying sound-for-sound! he gets cranky)

dbmamaz
11-10-2011, 08:44 AM
I do think it slowed Ravens reading down. He was definitely more of a whole word reader, just memorizing a lot of words really quickly. When he doesn't know a word, ESP if it's multiple syllable, I sound out each syllable separately a few tines just to try to remind him ( gently ) about sounding out. But his reading is improving - as is his confidence. This week in coop he offered to read something out loud. I jumped in w the words he didn't know, but it was totally chill and relaxed, no stress.

Marmalade
11-10-2011, 12:59 PM
My 7 year old son has the same issue-it was confusing for him at first when he started to learn to read because he was really suprised that the sounds were not correct. After learning that "th" makes the "th" sound he actually found it easier to say. Now he does slip up when he's talking and is excited but he's perfectly capable of making the sounds.

At one point I did worry a little bit but now I feel fine about it. (Now that I can see he is developing)

I had to do speech therapy when I was about 8 because I couldn't pronounce words with d r and w...I can't say that it helped much-now I avoid saying words like "Drawer" and am very very slow to pronounce "World War One"

dbmamaz
11-10-2011, 02:22 PM
I had some speech therapy, I think, because I pronounced my own name Dawa . . .but i mostly remember my father going over it with me, and it seemed like one day I just got it right. it didnt seem like all the pressure helped much.

coloradoalice
11-10-2011, 04:04 PM
Thank you all, this is really helpful. Since he has had other speech issues that have fixed themselves without any help and since it's considered ok for him to still have issues with these at his age I'm going to not worry about it. I think that working on it with his phonics will help without meaning to make a big deal out of it so I guess that's the plan for now!! It's good to hear from people who have been both the parent and the one given help.

Shaunam
11-10-2011, 06:30 PM
My son has the same issues. He's about to turn 7 and they still consider him at the age where it's not really a "problem" but they'll go ahead and start speech therapy "just in case" if you want to. I have him starting speech therapy soon mainly because I've seen ZERO improvement over the last year. I have a friend who is an slp and she said not to even worry until closer to 7.

crunchynerd
11-10-2011, 08:13 PM
If this helps any, my mom ran a daycare when I was 10, and we had a girl about 6 to 7 who had that problem. My mom tried to help her with tongue modeling, where you basically describe what the tongue should be doing and what shape it should take, how it moves and where it locates to produce a sound, using hands as a model tongue or even sketching pictures. I did that in college to help a fellow classmate improve his English pronunciation. It helped the adult classmate, who was a middle-aged Japanese man who wanted to make his English easier to understand.
As for the girl, it may have helped, or she may simply have outgrown it. She gradually started sounding more and more like Standard English.

Both my older kids had significant lisps...DD outgrew hers, and DS has gotten more intelligible in recent months, but his pronunciations were so bad once he started talking so much and so fast, that for a while, I could scarcely understand a word he said, and he was LESS intelligible than he had been when he was younger, and not able to string together such complex sentences! He's already improving his pronunciations, taking extra care to pronounce consonant clusters so that "gray" sounds like "garay"... but for a while there, I was just nodding and smiling, only catching every 3rd word.

Not to say there aren't real speech, cognition, and hearing problems that may happen, but baby lisps in early childhood, even significant ones, are not necessarily a sign of something that needs treatment, thank goodness. Best wishes.

crunchynerd
11-10-2011, 08:21 PM
My mother must have the same d/r/w issue! She can never pronounce "narrower"! It comes out 'now-wa-war' and she just can't do it no matter what. Interesting!

raegan
11-10-2011, 11:05 PM
I'm reminded that my 1st grade classroom had the alphabet line in the front of the classroom, and instead of pictures of things that started with that letter, each letter had a photograph of a mouth enunciating the sound it made. I was mesmerized and studied it when I'd finished my reading/math/whatever assignment. I probably looked like a goober, making my mouth into each of those same positions, lol. I may want to find something like that for both of my boys--they love to stare at themselves in a mirror anyway. ;)

My mom hates saying the name of a town near her: Brewer. And because of where I'm from (near south St Louis, or at least same gene pool), I pronounce "ar" like "are" no matter what. Just can't help it. So I also try to avoid saying "World War" though having a houseful of geeks means I embarrass myself anyway by saying "Star Wars" a lot. (Hey, at least I don't pronounce the number 44 as "farty-far"...so it could be worse.)

MarkInMD
11-10-2011, 11:11 PM
My mom hates saying the name of a town near her: Brewer.

Reminds me of a friend of mine who still, as far as I know, can't say the word "brewery." I've tried to get him to say it, and it always goes like this: Me-"Brew - ur - ee." Him-"Byur - ree." Me-"BROO - ur - ee." Him-"BYUR - ree." Me-"BROOOOO - UH - REE!" Him-"BYURRRRRRRRRR - EEEEEEEE!" :)

As to the post, I agree it's not worth agonizing over yet. Watching and working with it, but not worrying.

dbmamaz
11-10-2011, 11:16 PM
Mark, just curious, cuz w my son I would say "broo" and wait for him to say broo and then I'd see ur and wait for him to say ur, and then id say "broo" . . . "ur" and get him to say broo ur. so curious if you ever tried that. not that it matters of course

farrarwilliams
11-10-2011, 11:21 PM
And then there are the words that you learn you've been saying wrong all your life. When I was in high school, a friend of mine and I discovered that "walk" and "talk" have no "l" sound. We were astounded. After more research (because that's the kind of dorks we were - she went on to become an actual linguist, but I'm not sure what my excuse is) we found out that the way we all said it is an antiquated pronunciation still used in certain southern American dialects. Hey, that's us!

MarkInMD
11-12-2011, 11:34 PM
Mark, just curious, cuz w my son I would say "broo" and wait for him to say broo and then I'd see ur and wait for him to say ur, and then id say "broo" . . . "ur" and get him to say broo ur. so curious if you ever tried that. not that it matters of course

Yeah, I think I did. But it just never clicked. Eh, he's not even a drinker, so it's not like he'll have much cause to use that word in life.

raegan
11-13-2011, 12:40 AM
And then there are the words that you learn you've been saying wrong all your life. When I was in high school, a friend of mine and I discovered that "walk" and "talk" have no "l" sound. We were astounded. After more research (because that's the kind of dorks we were - she went on to become an actual linguist, but I'm not sure what my excuse is) we found out that the way we all said it is an antiquated pronunciation still used in certain southern American dialects. Hey, that's us!

I say it with an "L" sound in there. walk, chalk, talk, balk..all of 'em have an "L" in there.

BUT I'm from a kinda-southern town, so I guess I'm antiquated. But correct, dammit.