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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Phonological Process: Cluster Reduction

Boy Cluster reductionPhonological Process: Cluster Reduction

 

Phonological processes are patterns of speech errors.  Children use these processes when trying to produce adult-like speech.  These errors affect entire groups or classes of sounds. Most children demonstrate some phonological processes when acquiring language.  While these error patterns are typical and at times very cute, if they persist past a certain age they become atypical.  Cluster reduction is one of the more common phonological process.

What is cluster reduction: 

Cluster reduction is a syllable structure process. It occurs when a child reduces a consonant cluster to a single consonant. A consonant cluster is when there are 2-3 consonants next to one another in a word (“sp” in space). With the word “space”, a child using cluster reduction might say this as “pace”. Cluster reduction can occur in any word position. Medial position: lipstick becomes “liptick”.  Final position: old becomes “ol”. While cluster reduction is a common speech error, its effects can reduce a child’s speech intelligibility. As the frequency with which a child uses cluster reduction increases, his speech intelligibility decreases.

Should I be concerned if my child is using the process of cluster reduction?

Like many phonological processes, cluster reduction is common. It is present in many young children’s speech.  Usually as a child’s speech and language skills become more mature, this process corrects itself.  In typical development, cluster reduction is often eliminated by 3½ years of age. If your child continues to demonstrate cluster reduction beyond 3½ years, 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.

Outdoor Language Activities: At The Park

Language Activities: At The ParkOutdoor Language Activities: At the Park

 

Now that it is finally warming up we can start going outdoors.  I don’t know about you but Chicago Speech and More loves to play outside. Don’t want to break the bank? No worries. A trip to the park is free, fun and provides many opportunities for language activities. Read below for Chicago Speech and More’s favorite language activities to do while at the park.

If your local park has a great playground you are in luck. Here are some guidelines for language activities to be incorporated into an old fashioned park outing.

Swings: Swings are fun and better yet- most parks have them. Make sure that your child is in the appropriate swing for their age, size and developmental level.

  • Encourage your child to request the swings by simply saying “swing”.
  • Does your child like you to push them when they’re on the swing.  Give them a few pushes and then back off. Wait until they say “push” or say/sign “more” to start up again.
  • Play games where you pull their swing back and count “1-2-3-GO” until you drop/push their swing.  After a few times, count “1-2-3” and then wait for them to add “GO”.

Slides: Slides are definitely a favorite amongst most toddlers and children. Watch your child carefully when going on the slide. Make sure that your child can safely navigate the steps/ladder up to the slide and knows to remain seated while going down the slide.

  • Encourage your child to request the slide by simply saying “slide”.
  • When going up the stairs (or carrying your child up) model “up, up, up” as you climb. When you get to the top of the stairs encourage your child to say “down” before assisting him.
  • As your child is going down the slide say “wheeee” and encourage her to do the same. Your children will love it if you use a silly, exaggerated voice to do so.
  • After one trip down the slide, wait for your child to request another. Work to have them say “more” or “slide” or “whee” to convey to you what they want.

Sandbox: If your local park has a sandbox and you don’t mind getting dirty Chicago Speech and More says go for it.

  • Encourage your child to request the sandbox. Depending on their language abilities work with them to say “box”or “sand.”
  • Encourage them to say “in” if they want to go in or be put in the sandbox. Similarly, when they want to get “out”, wait until they say “out” to help them do so.
  • Build sand castles and hills and label what you are making.  If your child can, encourage them to use these labels as well.
  • The sandbox offers a variety of new vocabulary. Shovel, bucket, pail, sand, etc. Use these words.

Monkey Bars: Chicago Speech and More knows that monkey bars can be scary but they are also so much fun. If you watch your children carefully, the monkey bars can be safe and language rich. Depending on your child’s ability, I would recommend holding your child around the waist while they go across the bars. Regardless, make sure you are with them and spotting your child.

  • Encourage your child to request the monkey bars by saying “monkey bars”, “monkey”, “bars” or simply making the ooh-ooh-ahh-ahh monkey noise.
  • Once you are by the monkey bars model “up” as you lift your child to the bars.
  • After the first time, wait until your child either says “more”, “up”, or lifts his arms up to assist them.

Going to the park is fun, free and lets you spend time outdoors. I bet you never knew the playground offered so many language opportunities. This list is just a start. Language activities are everywhere. Don’t know which playground to head to? Click this link for Chicago’s Best Playgrounds by Chicagoparent.com

Chicago Speech and More hopes you enjoy the nice weather. Make sure to get outside and talk with your children! Stay tuned for Chicago Speech and More’s next edition of outdoor language activities.

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