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WebChat with
Author and Speech/Language Pathologist
Dorothy P. Dougherty

[Host] A to Z Kids Stuff is happy to present Dorothy P. Dougherty, author of How to Talk to Your Baby and her newest book Teach Me How To Say It Right with a foreword by Heather Whitestone-McCallum, Miss America 1995, First Miss American with a Disability.

[Host] We need to wait a moment as Dorothy is having a problem with our chat room.

[Julie] Hello and thank you for this opportunity. I have an almost 5 year
old girl who can read simple text. She knows her letters and sounds and can sound out words. But her l,w and r sounds all sound the same but to her there are different. I have her watch my mouth as I articulate the sounds.

[Dorothy] Hi Julie: Thank you for your question. That is really great that your daughter is learning to read. The errors you are describing on l, w, and r are considered within normal limits at this time. Many children do not learn how to make these sounds until they are 6 to 8 years of age. It is important to model the correct productions for her. You see, she really needs to hear the difference between the correct and incorrect ways of saying these sounds.

When she says a word incorrectly, do not ask her to repeat her words. Instead, say the word again, and say the error sound louder and longer. Also, you might try just reinforcing /l/ sounds as you go about some fun activities:

Talk about things you love and people you love, Make lemonade together. Talk about how many lemon you are using. Talk about left and right. Play "follow the leader." Hum "la, la, la" to a familiar song. As you do these activities, you will be giving your daughter many opportunities to hear the /l/ sound pronounced correctly. Here are a few books that also seem to have an abundance of /l/ words: Larabee by Kevin Luthardt, The Happy Lion by Louise Fatio, and Don't Get Lost! by Pat Hutchins. Thank you and best wishes, Dorothy

[Sue] My son is 6 and was tongue-tied. After having his tongue snipped he still has problems with his speech.

[Dorothy] Thank you for your question. What kinds of problems is he having? Thank you. Dorothy

[Sue] His speech sounds muffled. And he cannot say harsh sounds like th.

[Dorothy] Thank you for responding. If he had his tongue clipped recently, that may explain why his speech is muffled. The muscles of his tongue have not quite developed as a tongue that was free to move about and these muscles may certainly become stronger as he continues to use them. Th sounds are another one that does not develop until children are 7 or 8 years old. Many children substitute a d or f such as dum for thum or baf for bath. When he says the sounds incorrectly, model for him by repeating the word and saying the th sound a little louder and longer. He will start to hear the difference between the correct and incorrect way of saying these sounds. Please let me know if you have more questions. Thank you and best wishes, Dorothy

[Host] May is Better Hearing and Speech Month
https://atozkidsstuff.com/articles.html has several articles by Dorothy P. Dougherty.

[Carol] When should my child say his first word?

[Dorothy] Children usually say their first word around 12 months. They begin to understand words around 6 -9 months. There first word is always a word that they have heard often and understand.

[Host] How can I read to my toddler, he's always moving?

[Dorothy] Choose the time carefully. Perhaps before nap or bedtime, when the energy level is lowers. Let him pick the book and choose the place where he wants to read it. Hold his attention longer, by choosing books that have colorful pictures, objects he can touch and feel, or objects can find hidden under a flap. Try talking about the pictures, rather than reading the words.

[Host] What sounds develop first and last?

[Dorothy] By 30 months, most children can say all vowel sounds

3-4 years: /h/, /w/. /p/, /b/, /n/, /t/, /d/, /k/. and /g/

4-5 years: in addition, th (the voiced sound in this and them, not the th in bath or thumb)

5-6 years: in addition, /f/, /v/, /l/ at the end of words. /l/ in the beginning is 7 years

6 and older: ng, th, s, z, sh, ch, j, r, and blends (for example, sl, tr, pl, sk, sm, etc.)

[Host] Dorothy, for whom did you write your books?

[Dorothy] As a speech/language path for over 25 years, I felt that many parents had questions and there just weren't answers.

[Host] What does CCC after your name mean?

[Dorothy] CCC is Certificate of Clinical Competence. It is issued by the American Speech Language Hearing Association. It must be renewed every year by keeping current on research and practice.

[Host] Is it ever too late for speech therapy?

[Dorothy] No, but early intervention is best. Children who do not receive early speech therapy are often at risk for learning to read, write, and spell.

[Carol] If I don't understand what was said do I ask the child to repeat it?

[Dorothy] It is best not to ask your child to repeat what he has said incorrectly. Most children do not hear the difference between the correct and incorrect productions and will just repeat the word the incorrect way. Instead model the correct sound by repeating the word the child said incorrectly and stress the beginning and ending sounds. Make this word a part of your natural conversation. For example:

Child: I see a dot.
Adult: Yes it is a big dogg.
Would you like to get a dogg like that some day.

[Dorothy] Another reason for my books.

I also want to tell you that my brother who was two years younger than me had a very serious speech problem. He followed me around and I translated for him. I watched him struggle with school and friends. I knew I wanted to be a speech therapist for a long time. I hope that my books help parents get help for their children early. Thank you for asking me questions.

[Host] Thank you, Dorothy P. Doughery, author of "How to Talk to Your Baby" and "Teach Me How To Say It Right". Will you return for another chat sometime soon?

[Dorothy] Yes I will.

[Host] Thank you to all who participated.

[Host] Thank you, participants! This was an interesting topic.

[Host] Goodnight, everyone.


About the Author

Dorothy P. Dougherty, MA, CCC-SLP is a speech/language pathologist who has worked with children and adults in school, clinical and private settings for over 25 years.

She is the author of How to Talk to Your Baby: A Guide to
Maximizing Your Child's Language and Learning Skills (Perigee/Putnam, 2001) and Teach Me How to Say it Right: Helping Your Child with Articulation Problems to be released June, 2005, by New Harbinger Publications.

Other Articles

Encouraging a Child
to Read
Children's Learning Styles: From Crib to Classroom Understanding Preschool Child Development


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Other Articles
By Dorothy P. Dougherty

What Did You Say?

May Is Better
Hearing And Speech Month

Pretend Play - Don't
Throw it Away

Sites to See

American Speech
Language-Hearing Association

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