Learning to use good sounds correctly all of the time is often challenging. For Carry Over to happen your child needs to practice and be aware of their sound(s) every day. Here are some ideas to try:
For younger children:
- Focus on one sound at a time. If your child is working on several sounds it is often best to focus on one for a week or so and then move on to the next. Fixing everything at once can be overwhelming for everyone.
- Keep up awareness. Point out the sounds you are working on as they come up in daily life.“Do you want a cookie?” Say the sound a bit louder and longer. If you use a hand gesture when practicing the sound, use the gesture now too. Your child doesn’t have to say the word back, you are just increasing awareness.
- Practice repetitions. Even if your child can say the sound right in sentences he still needs to practice saying the sound over and over again in words.The repetition will help him learn to say the sounds automatically.
- Make a picture book of words that your child can say correctly with little or no help. Have him say the words to “show off” to friends and relatives. Keep adding to the book as more words become “easy”.
- Catch “mistakes” as they come up and have him go back and “fix” as many as possible. Be careful to balance this correction with his frustration level.Have him “fix” only the ones that you know he can say fairly easily. Give him lots of praise.
- Self-Correction. Instead of simply asking him to say a word again, encourage him to go back and “fix” mistakes a bit more independently. Give him a secret signal, a funny look, or just say “fix”. Being able to go back and “fix” his own “mistakes” by himself is a huge step. Watch for this and give him lots of praise when it happens.
- In a fun way make obvious “mistakes” when you say the words. Have him catch and “fix” your “mistakes”. Make sure he knows that this is just a game and that you are not making fun of his speech.
- Word of the day. Pick a word that he can get right either when he is focused or with just a bit of help. This is your Word of the Day. Put the word or a picture someplace where you will both see it. Now try to make this word come up as many times as you can through the day. Let him know that he will have to say this word right each time it comes up. If changing words every day is too much try a Word of the Week.
- Core Word Approach. Practice a small set of 4 to 6 practical, meaning words over and over again every day. Watch for these words as they come up in everyday speech. These ones he “must” go back and fix. When you start to hear one of these words doing well all of the time when he is talking, put a check by it and add another to the list.
For older children also try:
- Structured talking. Make talking a game by using bingo chips or coins. Each person needs 5 chips or coins. Say that for the next few minutes you will be listening for his sound. When you hear him make a “mistake” you get to take one of his chips. If he catches you making a mistake he takes one of your chips. The first person to get all of the chips wins. Talk to him about whatever he wants to or do something together that requires talking. Telling jokes, making a shopping list, playing eye spy, answering questions, etc. If the target sound isn’t coming up enough try structuring conversation around a list of words, pictures, or a topic that has the target sound. If needed, encourage him to take his time and to talk slowly. He should be getting his sounds right most of the time – at least 80%.
- Reading is an excellent time to practice speech sounds.Try having him put a check mark on a piece of paper every time the sound comes up. If he said the sound wrong have him go back and “fix”. If needed, underline or highlight the target sounds or practice the target words by themselves before having him read.
- Word Detective. Give him the job of listening for 3 words with his target sound as they come up at home or at school. Have him keep track of the words and practice them with him that night.
- Lose a Turn. Play a game that requires some talking. Tell him that every time you catch a mistake, he loses a turn. To make it fair, also tell him that every time he catches you making a mistake you lose a turn. Make a few mistakes on purpose so he can practice listening.
- Try having him “sing” using only the target sound. This would sort of be like humming but using only S’s or R’s etc. This gives your child lots and lots of practice saying their sound correctly over and over again.
- Tongue Twisters. Find or make up tongue twisters that use the target sound. There are lots of tongue twister ideas on-line.
- Make up or find jokes that have the target sounds. Practice the joke with your child and then have him tell it to friends, family, classmates etc.
- Story Telling. Pick a short story that uses the target sound. Have him practice and then tell the story to others.
Carry over can be a lot of work and will take time. Don’t rush it. Just work on it a bit every day. Don’t put too much pressure on your child. He is not being lazy. It is hard to learn a new sound. Imagine how much work it would be to change the way you talk and to do this for the rest of your life. Just keep at it. Carryover will happen.
Hope these ideas help.