In-Home Pediatric Speech Therapy

Call Today:

(847) 774-0582

Monthly Archives: January 2013

Phonological Process: Fronting

Phonological Process: Fronting

tea-phonological process fronting honological process fronting

Phonological processes are patterns of errors used by children when attempting to produce adult-like speech.  Most children demonstrate some of these processes when acquiring language.  While these error patterns are common and often times typical, if they persist past a certain age they become atypical.  Fronting is a very common phonological process.

What is fronting: 

Fronting occurs when children substitute sounds made in the back of the mouth with those produced in the front of the mouth (e.g., saying “tan” for “can” or “dot” for “got”).

There are two main types of fronting: velar fronting and palatal fronting.

Velar Fronting:

Velar fronting occurs when children substitute the /k/ and /g/ sounds (produced when the tongue contacts the velum, or soft palate at the back of the throat) with sounds that are made with the front of the mouth, most often the /t/ and /d/ sounds. An example would be a child saying “tea” for “key” or “dame” for “game.”

My favorite fronting story occurred while working with a 6 year old boy who was still demonstrating the phonological process. After several sessions, he correctly said the word “key” all by himself. I started cheering and he looked at me with the biggest smile possible and said “tan you believe I just said that?” 

Palatal Fronting:

Palatal fronting is when children substitute a palatal sound “sh”, “zh”, “ch” and/or “j” (sounds produced towards the back of the roof of the mouth) with sounds that are made more anteriorly.  An example of this process would be a child saying “sue” for “shoe” or “sip” for “chip”.

As with most phonological processes, fronting is common and is present in many young children’s speech.  Usually this process corrects itself as the child’s speech and language skills become more mature.  Fronting is typically eliminated when a child reaches three years and six months (3;6). If your child is continuing to demonstrate the phonological process of fronting beyond the age of 4, it is recommended that you contact a speech-language pathologist.

If you have concerns with your child’s speech and language skills please contact Samantha at Chicago Speech and More by calling (847) 774-0582 or using the contact us form on the website.

Speech Sound Disorders: Articulation Disorder vs. Phonological Process Disorder

girl on phone-speech sound disordersIs your child having trouble producing one or more sounds? If so, they may have a speech sound disorder.  While all children make mistakes when saying new sounds and words, a speech sound disorder (SSD) occurs when mistakes continue past a certain age.  There are two main types of speech sound disorders: articulation disorders (difficulty making sounds) and phonological process disorders (difficulty with sound patterns).

Articulation Disorders

An articulation disorder is due to problems making certain sounds. These disorders are usually characterized by substitution, distortion, omission or addition of sounds in words. Children with articulation disorders have difficulty learning the way to physically produce certain sounds even though all of their “articulators” are working correctly. For example, many children that I work with have trouble saying the “r” sound and will often say “wabbit” instead of rabbit.  Another common articulation problem I see in children is when they distort the “s” sound (sometimes referred to as a frontal or lateral lisp).

If your child is having trouble with one or more speech sounds please refer to the chart below to determine if this is a sound they should have acquired by their age.  If the sound disorder is persisting past the expected age of mastery, it is recommended that you seek assistance from a speech-language pathologist.

Speech and Articulation Development Chart

Phonological Process Disorder

A phonological process disorder consists of patterns of sound errors. Children with phonological process disorders have difficulty learning the sound system.  There are many phonological processes (more blogs to come with descriptions and examples of various patterns) although some are more common than others.  One that I see quite frequently is “fronting”. Fronting occurs when children substitute sounds made in the back of the mouth like “k” and “g” with those made in the front of the mouth like “t” and “d” (e.g., saying “tan” for “kan” or “dot” for “got”).

My favorite fronting story occurred while working with a six-year-old boy who was still demonstrating the phonological process. After several sessions, he correctly said the word “key” all by himself. I started cheering and he looked at me with the biggest smile possible and said “tan you believe I just said that?”  

While it is common and even normal for young children to use some phonological processes, they may have a phonological disorder if these patterns persist past a certain age.  If you think your child might be using one or more phonological processes, please refer to the chart below to determine if this pattern should have been eliminated by their age. If the phonological process is persisting past the expected age of elimination, it is recommended that you seek assistance from a speech-language pathologist.

Elimination of Phonological Processes in Typical Development Chart

This is just a brief introduction into speech sound disorders.  If you suspect that your child is demonstrating articulation or phonological difficulties or both, please contact Samantha at Chicago Speech and More 847-774-0582.

Top 10 Reasons In-Home Speech Therapy is the Best

top 10 reasons why in-home speech therapy is the best

Although speech therapy is offered in a variety of settings, in-home speech therapy services offer the most benefits. Read Chicago Speech and More’s Top 10 Reasons Why in-Home Speech Therapy is the Best.

10. Convenience: You don’t even have to leave your house.  No driving, going out in the cold, or spending money on gas—Chicago Speech and More comes to you!

9.  Functional: Incorporate vocabulary and language that is necessary and used on a daily basis.  Samantha will work with you and your child to create and obtain meaningful speech and language goals.

8. Natural: Nothing is more natural than your child’s home.  Moving from the therapy table in the “speech room” to your living or play room just makes sense! Rather than just practicing speech and language skills in a contrived therapy setting, skills will be taught, practiced and used in the most natural setting-your home.

7. Family Involvement: Chicago Speech and More works with the child, parents, and other family members to ensure the best outcome possible. Instead of just dropping your child off at therapy, you will be an active participant in your child’s treatment.

6. Face-to-Face: In-home speech therapy allows for you to work directly with Samantha to best help your child.  She will model techniques and instruct you on various strategies proven to elicit speech and language.  Face-to-face meetings allow for opportunities to discuss progress and make changes to your child’s treatment plan.

5. Repetition: Rather than just practicing speech skills once a week at the therapy table, parent involvement will allow for continuous practice of these skills.  After working with Samantha and your child, you will be able to incorporate therapy into your daily activities.

4. Carry-over: Being an active participant in your child’s therapy plan will enable you to help your child carry-over skills into a variety of settings.  You and your child can practice in the car, in waiting rooms, at the grocery store, at friend’s houses- the possibilities are endless.

3.  Monitoring: No one knows your child better than you.  You will be able to observe how your child functions in a variety of daily, natural settings and compare that with their performance during speech therapy sessions.  This information is invaluable and can guide you and Samantha as you measure and create treatment goals.

2. Personal: In-home speech therapy sessions provide a laid back and personal experience.  Your child will be seen individually and Samantha will work with your family to ensure your personal wants and needs are met.

1.  It just Makes Sense!

Call Samantha at Chicago Speech and More today! 847-774-0582

Categories : Sam's Blog, Top 10

Chicago Speech and More Recommends Learn to Talk First Words app

Learn To Talk First WordsWith so many apps out there it is hard to know which are worth your time and money! Chicago Speech and More recommends Learn to Talk First Words by Thunderloop for helping to improve your child’s expressive vocabulary skills.

Learn to Talk First Words is available on both the iPad and the iPhone and is a great tool for both parents and speech pathologists.  The app provides numerous, interactive and colorful flashcards to engage and motivate toddlers. It is designed to enhance and aid in children’s language acquisition. The app is arranged in a hierarchy mirroring language development.  The deck includes high impact words (e.g., all done, bye, hi), objects and actions (e.g.,  ball, balloon, airplane), actors (e.g., baby, dog, daddy), one word actions (e.g.,  bath, cry, dance), and two word actions (e.g., blow bubbles, drink milk, eat apple).  Where you start depends on your child or client’s expressive language level (high impact words being the most basic and two word actions the most complex).

In addition to the colorful and engaging graphics, the words are written and spoken with each flashcard. As your child begins to master the various levels, the sound can be switched off to encourage independent language production.  Once your child has mastered the entire deck, you can move onto Learn To Talk More Words app.

Not only do I find this app to be extremely successful, my clients LOVE it!  The little ones enjoy swiping their fingers across the screen to see the next flashcard. I have seen great progress when this app is used as part of a speech therapy program.  Chicago Speech and More highly recommends the Learn to Talk First Words app.

What makes Learn to Talk First Words so great is that with just one app, you have hundreds of picture cards at your fingertips.  Say good-bye to lugging twenty packs of vocabulary cards and hello to the future of speech therapy.

Tips for Producing the /s/ Sound by Chicago Speech and More

boy smilingIs your child having trouble producing the /s/ sound?  If so, they’re not alone. The /s/ is a very tricky sound. It typically emerges around three years of age although is not generally mastered until seven or eight.

The /s/ sound is produced with the tip of the tongue just behind the front teeth.  The tongue is close to the palate, roof of the mouth, but does not touch it. The sides of the tongue are elevated and touch the upper side teeth. Because of the tongue position, a groove should form down the center of the tongue providing a passage for continuous air stream. The teeth should be nearly closed in a bite position. The lips should be parted, in the position of a smile.

Saying “th” for /s/ is a common error amongst kids.  This is typically the error pattern people think of when hearing the word lisp. Some children substitute other sounds for /s/. Other children completely omit the /s/ sound, especially when it occurs in a blend (“pider/spider, cool/school, led/sled”). Not to harp on my nephew (see steps for producing “th” for more stories) but this story is too great to miss.  When my nephew was 3 years old (now 6), he put on a white blanket and started running around the house saying “look Tami (Sami), I’m a cary goat”.  I knew he was trying to say scary but I couldn’t understand why he would want to be a scary goat.  My sister clarified that he was in fact trying to be a “scary ghost.”

*If your child still has difficulty with the /s/ sound by 8 years of age it is recommended that you seek guidance from a trained and licensed speech-language pathologist. *


It doesn’t hurt to practice at home with your little ones.  Here are some tips from Chicago Speech and More for helping your child to produce the /s/ sound.

Speech Therapy Hierarchy- from sounds to conversations

Sound Level

As with most sounds, it’s best to start at the sound level.  Production of /s/ has some visual components– grab a mirror. Have your child watch as you make the sound (make sure to hold /s/ for a few seconds). Then haave him watch himself in the mirror making the sound, continue to produce it with him. Sometimes it is helpful to tell your child to “smile with their teeth closed”

Sam the Snake

“Sam the Snake”

or “pretend to a bite an apple” to help them get their articulators in the right position.  I have had great success using the “hissing snake method”.  I typically introduce my pointer finger to my students as “Sam the Snake”. I move my finger in a snaking ess on the table or desk in front of us while vocalizing “s-s-s-s-s-s”.  The child then gets to name their “snake” (finger) and move it along while producing the sound.  The “snake” works as a great tactile reminder throughout the speech hierarchy.

Syllable Level

Once your child has mastered the ability to produce the /s/ sound, move to the syllable level.  Try adding a vowel to the end or beginning of the sound (sa, see, soo, say, or ess, oss, iss). While most children find it easier to produce syllables when the target sound occurs at the beginning (sa), this is not always the case. Try out both positions to see what works best for your child and work on the one they are most successful with. Remember to incorporate any cues your child found helpful.

Word Level

When you child can say syllables, move onto the word level.  If it was easier for your child to produce syllables beginning with the target sound, use words beginning with the sound  (sun, santa, sail).  If your child had more success when the sound occurred in the final position, begin with words ending in /s/ (lace, class, fox).  Begin with whichever position your child is more successful with and progress throughout all word positions (initial, medial (bracelet), final). I have found it beneficial to continue using a mirror at this stage and of course “Sam the Snake”.

Phrase/Sentence Level

Once mastery is achieved at the word level, begin to add these words into phrases and then sentences.  Using carrier phrases such as “The ______” (phrase level) or “I see a ___________” or “Sometimes Sally says______” (sentence level) can provide additional opportunities to use the target sound. Try coming up with different carrier phrases. Don’t be afraid to get a little silly with your children.

Paragraph/Short Story Level

Following accurate production at the sentence level, move onto paragraphs. The easiest way to do this is to create a simple story containing your target sound (/s/) and have your child retell it back to you.

Conversation Level

The last step in our hierarchy is to practice the /s/ in conversations.  Although there might be occasional speech sound errors, your child should be producing /s/ correctly most of the time.

Speech Therapy Activities for /s/ Sound

Let’s face it- kids just want to have fun.  Practicing speech sounds is no exception. There are plenty of fun activities to incorporate into your speech therapy.  Here are a few of Chicago Speech and More’s favorites:

  • Picture cards are great and can be used to play memory or go-fish. These games can be used at various levels in our speech therapy hierarchy.  (Word level -child simply labels the card. Phrase level- “the ________”. Sentence Level- “I picked the___________”, “Do you have the ___________”, etc.).
  • Have your child create their own /s/ picture cards.
  • Make a sun (or any word that has an /s/ in it) out of construction paper and have your child glue various /s/ pictures on the sun.  Model the phrase “(target word) on the sun”. *Double /s/ opportunity when you include “on the sun”.
  • Go through a magazine and cut out different pictures of items that have the /s/  sound in them. Make a collage with the pictures.
  • Play games like “I Spy” and find words containing the target sound /s/. *Double /s/ opportunity when you include carrier phrase “I spy”.

*Click on the link for /s/ initial pictures. Print out 2 copies and cut apart to use for Memory or Go-Fish.

s initial picture cards

The possibilities are endless- just remember to have fun.


Categories : Sam's Blog, Tips
Online Marketing
Add blog to our directory.
gold badge is gold certified
Health Blogs - Blog Rankings
Active Search
Active Search Results
website security
Chicago, IL - Phone: (847) 774-0582
© Copyright 2012, All Rights Reserved
Powered by WordPress. Designed by WordPress Themes by ProGo