Generalising Speech Sounds to Your Child's Every-day Communication

Key Points to Remember

  • Download the 'Yay' and 'Oops' charts to use with these steps. You will need to either have some tokens (e.g. buttons or paperclips) or a white-board marker to put marks or tokens on the charts. This is to be used in your therapy / structured activity time.

  • Find a reward chart and use it to put stickers on and praise your child when you notice them making the correct production of their target sounds in non-therapy times. If you are struggling at first to find any times that they produce the sound correctly in their non-therapy time, praise them for just paying attention to their speech in non-therapy time - even if it isn't said correctly at first. Then move to praising for the correct production.

  • Look for a reward they can work towards earning when they manage to meet an agreed upon milestone. It might be: You got 50 'yays' in our structured activity today; or this week you have managed to accumulate 20 really good (target) sounds when we weren't even focusing on them.

  • Always focus on giving more 'Yays' than 'Oops' - which may mean rewarding for the sounds that your child has ALWAYS been getting correct and never had to target for therapy

Steps to Generalisation

  1. WEEK 1 - 10-15 minutes each day doing a structured activity with them saying a structured sentence that they've had well-rehearsed (e.g. books that they know well, games that have set words to use) 

  2. WEEK 2-3 - 10-15 minutes each day doing a structured activity with them saying a less structured sentence (somewhat predictable words, but less so) (e.g. describing things for an I spy game, board game or talking about a book and describing what’s happening in the pictures, describing what is in the pictures).

  3. WEEKS 4 & 5 -15 minutes each day doing an unstructured activity with them spontaneously talking (e.g. talking about their school day, what they would like to on the weekend, what would be their favourite toy – just keep the conversation rolling as best as you can); they need to know that you are going to be paying attention to their speech. It can be done while playing blocks, having breakfast, on the way to school etc. 

  4. WEEKS 6 & 7 - 10 minutes twice a day surprise them (at different times of the day) by saying that you are going to listen to how they says their sounds.

  5. WEEKS 8-12 - Start giving them random feedback throughout the day.

 

Feedback You Can Give Your Child to Help Them - Levels of Feedback

 

  • Always pile on the praise for any sound said correctly especially if they have said a targeted sound correctly

  • You will always use your tokens to place on the oops (if they got the sound wrong) or on the yay (if they got the sound correct. At first, if they manage to fix up the 'oops' the token can move from the 'oops' to the 'yay'. However towards the end of the steps of the hierarchy, the tokens stay where they land even if they fix it up. The goal is to have more on the 'yay' chart than the 'oops' chart. 

 

If they are saying the wrong sounds in their words the type of feedback you can give them includes (from the most to the least supported):

  1. Say the sound by itself and get them to look at you, then put it in the word and ask them to repeat (e.g. the ‘s’ in ‘this’ is said wrong – say ‘s’ at the end; lets say ‘this’) + use tokens (shift token if corrected)

  2. Just model the word without having them look + use tokens (shift token if corrected)

  3. Remind them that they need to say their sounds correctly in the specific word + use tokens (shift token if corrected)

  4. Remind them that they need to say their sounds correctly without telling them the specific word that they got wrong + use tokens (shift token if corrected) 

  5. Say ‘oops’ if they say the word wrong and ask them to repeat without telling them what the word was that was wrong + use tokens (shift token if corrected) 

  6. Look at them strangely if they say the sounds wrong without telling them there was an oops + use tokens (shift token if corrected)

  7. Look at them strangely if they say the sounds wrong without telling them there was an oops + use tokens (STOP shifting tokens even if corrected)

  8. Only look at then strangely if they say the sounds wrong - no tokens

 

How to Use the Feedback

When you commence generalisation you should be able to start at level 3 type of feedback for the first week, then move quickly to level 5 by the end of week 2. By weeks 4 and 5 you should be using levels 6 and 7 feedback. Your goal is to get to level 8 feedback as soon as you can after that. If however, at any stage you find the level of feedback doesn't seem to get them to self-correct, go back 1 level of  feedback. If that doesn't work, go back to the previous level, and so on until you get them to fix their mistake. You may be able to resume back to the level of feedback you started at with the next error.  Just keep playing with the level of feedback you are giving. The goal is always to go to level 8. It is the most naturalistic feedback that someone would give and it requires your child to think about what they said and how they said it.  If they weren't clear to a stranger, the stranger might look at them strangely and just ignore their attempt to communicate. That would cause them to wonder how they could fix up their message and make it clearer.