Monthly Archives

February 2014

accent modification, Uncategorized, Uncategorized

Accent and Jaw Movement

In January I attended a Talk Tools conference with speech language pathologist Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson.  Most of her therapy techniques would help children (and adults) with muscle weakness for speech.  These are myofunctional exercises, and are used to treat tongue thrust.  But she also addressed foreign accents and I wanted to share this with you.
Teachers of pronunciation tell ESL students where to put their tongues for certain sounds.  For example, “For L, put your tongue in the front of your mouth behind your top teeth.”  But the one important aspect teachers often forget, is how to hold open your mouth, or how much your jaw moves down.  Speech language pathologists call this “jaw grading.”

There are 3 levels of mouth openings Americans use to say vowels. If you imagine the mouth all the way closed, this is a “high jaw” position.  Open your jaw just a little bit and you get to the first speech position “High.”  This is where we say “ee” as in Pete and ”i” as in pit.
We open our mouth further and this is the “Mid” or “Middle” position. This is where we say “e” as in pet and “uh” as in putt
Then we open our mouth the farthest and this is the “Low” position. This is where we say “a” as in Pat and “ah” as in pot.
If you want to practice the American vowel sound positions do them in this succession:
  • Pete
  • pit
  • pet
  • putt
  • Pat
  • pot
Your mouth will have a small opening at the beginning of the list, and very large opening at the end.  In this direction, the vowel sounds will be High – Mid – Low.  That is also the position of your jaw ~  high – mid – low. Be sure to open you mouth wide for the “low” sounds, especially students who speak Asian languages since you don’t use many “low” positions in your first language.


This blog post was written by Paula from Almaden Valley Speech Therapy Blog. Paula is an ASHA-certified and licensed speech pathologist, with a passion for autism/social skills and English pronunciation. She lives in Northern California with her husband and 2 awesome kids, one who is on the autism spectrum. When she’s not avoiding injury from an occasional iPad thrown in school, or teaching tongue thrust therapy in clinic, she can be found tutoring ESL students with a pronunciation curriculum she developed. She posts her helpful hints, ideas and lessons on
Apraxia, fluency, freebies, pacing boards, Uncategorized, Uncategorized

Pacing Boards

I love my pacing boards at work. They are so simple to make and they are so useful. I use pacing boards at least once a day. I mainly use them to help my kiddos slow down when they are talking too fast or stuttering. Click on this link for pacing boards [free printout]. 

You can have your clients/patients/children tap each circle and they can start over once they touch the last circle. You can use pacing boards for:
1) Sounding out letters in words –> f-a-n
2) Breaking up syllables –> ba-na-na
3) Slowing down when producing sentences –> I-want-to-play-with-the-ball
You can use pacing boards for the following disorders and more:
  • Apraxia of Speech
  • Dysarthria
  • Fluency (Stuttering included)
  • Articulation
  • Phonological processes
Don’t forget to laminate these boards. These simple boards have really helped my speech kiddos with their speech clarity. They do a better job slowing down after 1-2 session(s) of using these boards in speech therapy. 

articulation, crafts, language, Uncategorized, Uncategorized, Valentine's Day

Free Valentine’s Day Crafitivity

With mid-winter break quickly approaching, I know I have been looking for some quick and easy therapy activities to do with my students. I’ve created a fun and low prep Valentine’s Day Butterfly craftivity which you can use with your students to target many goals. This activity does not require too much assembly on the student’s part so the actual “craft” portion requires minimal effort/time.

Use this Valentine’s Day activity to target a variety of goals:

Includes all the templates you will need to assembly the butterfly.

Also included are Valentine’s Day themed roll & color worksheets to use along with any therapy activity.

Download this FREE activity here: Valentine’s Day Craftivity