Speech Sequence sh Sound

Speech Sequence sh 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: Simon is a 5 year old boy with the fronting error of using /s/ for /ò/. That is, his jaw has gone forward slightly and instead of his tongue retracting to allow for the increased airflow of the /ò/, his tongue has moved forward for the /s/ sound. You begin speech therapy by explaining to Simon about the error he is making.

Speech Sequence sh Sound: Sound in Isolation

Clinician: 'I want you to try this new sound. The sound is /ò/. The /ò/ is made when we push our lips out and our tongue moves back a little. The air-stream goes over the top of our tongue and it’s a windy sound.'

The clinician demonstrates the correct /ò/ sound. Demonstrate to the child the correct cue sign at this point and reinforce that the tongue moves to the back of the mouth, and the lips are pushed out. Practice the new /ò/ sound as often as is needed. Once the child is competent at sound level, move onto sound combined with a vowel.

Speech Sequence sh Sound: Sound with Vowel

Clinician: ‘I’m happy with your clear and lovely /òsound. Let’s try something new. Let’s try the /òsound with a vowel. I’ll show you what I mean. sh….ooo,’

The clinician demonstrates the /òwith vowel combination. Note that at this early point that there is a gap between the /ò/and the vowel. This is to protect against the child returning to their ingrained habit of using the /s/ sound. Some possible /òvowel combinations are… sh…ooo,  sh…eee, sh…ar,  sh…or, sh…ay,. Successful sound with vowel is one of the critical points in speech therapy.

Simon attempts the /òand vowel combination. He quickly reverts to his previous use of /s/, so sh…ooo becomes s…ooo. The /òsound needs to be strengthened. Note, the double sided arrow points both back and forward. In this example, we return to the previous level. Simon produces /òsound in isolation to re-establish the sound. Once the          /òsound is re-established the clinician tries again with // and vowel.

Once the child is able to produce sh…ee, sh…oo,  sh…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 sh…oo, sh..oo, shoo, gradually compressing the distance between the consonant and vowel until all cv combos are correct. If the /s/ sound intrudes, return to sh…ooo, sh…ee to re-establish target sound, as is described in the contingency continuum.

Speech Sequence sh Sound - Aspiration Sound Technique

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 /s/ for /òexample, the /s/ continues to intrude so sh…ee is intruded upon by sh…see.

The /h/ phoneme is technically a consonant but has elements of a voiceless vowel and is perfect for attaching to the …ee vowel to smooth the distance between the /òand vowel. So for sh…ee we add sh…hee. The /h/ phoneme is very quiet so is not an intrusive sound and blocks the sound error intrusion from attaching to the vowel …ee.

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 to Download Speech Therapy Sequence for the /sh/ Sound 

Speech Sequence sh Sound: Word Level

At word level you can begin to use /òpicture 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 /s/ at any point, re-establish the new sound by demonstrating  /òin isolation or /òwith 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.


Updated 27/08/2020