Speech Sequence f Sound: The speech therapy techniques highlighted on this page are an example of traditional articulation therapy. The techniques can be useful for experienced clinicians.
Parents and teachers are encouraged to speak to their local speech therapists or contact professional associations such as ASHA (U.S), SPA (Aus) or RCSLT (UK) for information about speech therapy options for your child with speech errors.
Case Example: Julie is a 6 year old girl with the common sound error of replacing /f/ with /d/. That is, instead of her top teeth covering her bottom lip on phonation, her fricative sound is replaced with a voiced stop - /d/. You begin speech therapy by explaining to Julie the error she is making.
Clinician: 'I want you to try this new sound. The sound is /f/. The /f/ is made when we go to bite our bottom lip but leave enough room for the air to flow through. The /f/ is a quiet sound. We don’t use our voice like we do for the /d/ sound.'
The clinician demonstrates the correct /f/ sound. Demonstrate to the child the correct cue sign at this point and reinforce that the tongue moves to the top of the mouth, and back. The lips do not move. Practice the new /f/ sound as often as is needed. Once the child is competent at sound level, move onto sound combined with a vowel.
Clinician: ‘I’m happy with your clear and lovely /f/ sound. Let’s try something new. Let’s try the /f/ sound with a vowel. I’ll show you what I mean. f….our,’
The clinician demonstrates the /f/ with vowel combination. Note that at this early point that there is a gap between the /f/ and the vowel. This is to protect against the child returning to their ingrained habit of using the /d/ sound. Some possible /d/ vowel combinations are… f…oo, f…eee, f…ar, f…or, f…ay. Successful sound with vowel is one of the critical points in speech therapy.
Julie attempts the /f/ and vowel combination. She quickly reverts to her previous use of /d/, so f…our becomes d…ooor. The /f/ sound needs to be strengthened. Note, the double sided arrow points both back and forward. In this example, we return to the previous level. Julie produces /f/ sound in isolation to re-establish the sound. Once the /f/ sound is re-established the clinician tries again with /f/ and vowel.
Once the child is able to produce f…ee, f…our, f…ar, etc the clinician introduces the concept of the train and carriage as a metaphor of bringing the two sounds together with a visual reinforcement. Attempt f…oo, f..oo, foo, gradually compressing the distance between the consonant and vowel until all cv combos are correct. If the /d/ sound intrudes, return to f…ooo, f…ee to re-establish target sound.
A useful technique to help a child eradicate an intrusive sound error is to use the aspirated /h/ as a carrier phoneme. The /h/ helps ease the distance between the target consonant and the vowel. For instance, with our /d/ for /f/ example, the /d/ continues to intrude so f…our is intruded upon by f…door.
The /h/ phoneme is technically a consonant but has elements of a voiceless vowel and is perfect for attaching to the …our vowel to smooth the distance between the /f/ and vowel. So for f…our we add f…hoor. The /h/ phoneme is very quiet so is not an intrusive sound and blocks the sound error intrusion from attaching to the vowel …our.
The /h/ sound is gradually faded out until the child can confidently produce the target sound and vowel combination without the established sound error intruding.
Click on image below to download the Speech Therapy Sequence sheet
At word level you can begin to use /f/ picture cards. Mommy Speech therapy has a range of great picture cards. If all the previous stages have been completed successfully then sound at word level will be the next step. While attempting word level speech therapy, if the child returns to /f/ at any point, re-establish the new sound by demonstrating /f/ in isolation or /f/ with vowel.
Secord, W. (2007) Eliciting Sounds: Techniques for Clinicians. Delmar ISE
Van Riper, C. & Erickson, R.L. (1996) Speech Correction: An Introduction to Speech Pathology and Audiology. Allyn & Bacon
Williams, A.L. McLeod, S. & McCauley, R.J.(2010) Interventions for Speech Sound Disorders in Children. Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.