Speech and Language Therapy Exercises: Part Two

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    This week I continue the 2-part series about articulation exercises. Last time I considered the importance of training the tongue muscles for speech development – how they are correlated and why some children don’t pronounce certain sounds.

    Today I offer you some speech and language therapy exercises to train different speech organs – lips, cheeks, tongue, lower jaw, and soft palate.

    Recommendations on how to perform articulation exercises

    1. It is recommended to perform articulation exercises every day to master the developing skills in children. It is better to do the exercises 3-4 times a day for 3-5 minutes. Do not offer your child more that 2-3 exercises at a time.
    2. Each exercise is performed 5-7 times.
    3. Static exercises are performed for 10-15 seconds (maintaining the articulation pose in one position).
    4. When selecting articulation exercises you should follow a certain sequence: from simple to more complex exercises. It is better to perform them emotionally, like a game.
    5. When you perform three exercises, only one exercise can be new, and the second and the third one should be repeated and mastered. If the child performs an exercise not good enough, do not introduce any new one, better master the previous activities. You can come up with new game techniques.
    6. Articulation exercises are performed in a sitting position, since the baby’s back is straight in this position, the body is relaxed, the hands and feet are in a quiet position.
    7. The child should clearly see both your and his face to independently control the accuracy of the exercises performed. Therefore, you should do them in front of a big mirror. Also, the child can use a little hand mirror (about 9×12 cm), but then you should be in front of the child your face to him.
    8. It is better to start doing exercises for the lips.

    Exercises for the lips

    1. Smile. Keep the lips smiling. The teeth are not visible.
    2. Proboscis (Tube). Pull the lips forward in a shape of a long tube.
    3. Fence. Lips are smiling, the teeth are closed naturally and visible.
    4. Bagel (Horn).The teeth are closed. The lips are rounded and slightly extended forward. The upper and lower teeth are visible.
    5. Fence – Bagel. Smile – Proboscis. Alternate the lip positions.
    6. Rabbit. The teeth are closed. The upper lip is lifted exposing the upper incisors.

    Exercises for the mobile lips development

    1. Biting and scratching the upper and lower lips alternately with the teeth.
    2. Smile – Tube. Alternate the pulling the lips forward and stretching them into a smile.
    3. Piglet. Move the lips pulled in a tube to the left and right, turn them around.
    4. Fish are talking.
    – Clap the lips against each other (a clunk is produced).
    – Draw the cheeks inward and then sharply open the mouth. It is necessary to achieve a distinctive sound of “a kiss” while performing the exercise.
    5. Duckling. Pull the lips ahead, squeeze them so that the thumbs are below the lower lip and the rest of the fingers are on the upper lip. Pull the lips as far as possible by massaging them and trying to create a beak of a duck.
    6. Dissatisfied horse.
    – Easily and actively send the flow of exhaling air to the lips until they start vibrating. The sound is like a horse’s snort.
    – The mouth is wide open; the lips are drawn into the mouth clinging tight to the teeth.

    If the lips are very weak:

    – blow the cheeks vigorously holding the air tooth and nail in the mouth;
    – holding a pencil (plastic tube) with the lips, draw a circle (square);
    – to keep a piece of cheesecloth with the lips – you try to pull it out.

    Exercises for the lips and cheeks

    1. Biting, slapping and rubbing the cheeks.
    2. A well-fed hamster. Blow both cheeks at a time, then blow them alternately.
    3. Hungry hamster. Draw the cheeks inward.
    4. The mouth is closed. Beat the inflated cheeks with a fist so that the air flows out with force and noise.

    Static exercises for the tongue

    1. Little birds. The mouth is wide open, the tongue lies quietly in the oral cavity.
    2. Little spade. The mouth is opened, a relaxed tongue lies on the lower lip.
    3. Cup. Mouth is wide open. Front and side edges of a wide tongue are raised but do not touch the teeth.
    4. Needle. The mouth is open. Narrow tight tongue is pushed forward.
    5. Slide (Angry kitten). The mouth is open. The tip of the tongue rests against the lower teeth, back of the tongue is bent upward.
    6. Tube. The mouth is open. The lateral edges of the tongue are folded up.
    7. Mushroom. The mouth is open. The tongue is stuck to the palate.

    Dynamic exercises for the tongue

    1. Clock (Pendulum). The mouth is open. The lips are stretched into a smile. The tip of a narrow tongue moves from one corner of the mouth to the other one.
    2. Snake. The mouth is wide open. A narrow tongue is pushed vigorously forward and put back into the mouth.
    3. Swing. The mouth is open. A tense tongue reaches for the nose and the chin, or to the upper and lower incisors.
    4. Football (Hide the candy). The mouth is closed. A tense tongue leans alternately against the cheeks.
    5. Bobbin. The mouth is open. The tip of the tongue rests against the lower incisors, lateral edges are pressed against the upper molars. A wide tongue rolls forward and backward into the mouth.
    6. Horse. Stick the tongue against the palate, clatter the tongue. Clatter it slowly and with tension to pull the hyoid ligament.
    7. Accordion. The mouth is open. The tongue is stuck to the palate, pull down the lower jaw.
    8. Painter. The mouth is open. Run a broad tip of the tongue, like a brush, from the upper incisors to the soft palate.
    9. Tasty jam. The mouth is open. Lick the upper lip with a wide tongue and hide it deep into the mouth.
    10. Lick lips. The mouth is open. Lick the upper lip and then the lower one with circular movements.

    Exercises to develop the lower jaw motility

    1. Coward little bird. Open the mouth wide and close it, so that corners of the mouth stretch. The jaw is lowered about two fingers width apart. The tongue, a “chick”, is sitting in the nest and does not peep out. The exercise is performed rhythmically.
    2. Sharks. On the count of “one” the jaw is lowered, on the count of “two” the jaw moves to the right (the mouth is open), on the count of “three” the jaw is lowered to the initial position, “four” – the jaw moves to the left, “five” – the jaw is lowered, “six” – the jaw is pushed forward, “seven” – the chin is in the usual comfortable position, the lips are closed. Do the exercise slowly and carefully avoiding any sudden movements.
    3. Imitation of chewing with the mouth open and closed.
    4. Monkey. The jaw is lowered down, the tongue is pulled out to the chin as far as possible.
    5. Strong man. The mouth is open. Imagine that there is something heavy on the chin that must be raised up. Raise the chin and tense the muscles underneath. Gradually close the mouth. Relax.
    6. Place hands on the table, cover one hand with another one, lean the chin against the hands. While opening the mouth, press the chin against the resisting palms. Relax.
    8. Lower the jaw down while overcoming the resistance (hold your hand under the child’s jaw).
    9. Open the mouth while bending the head backward and overcoming the resistance of your hands lying on the back of the child’s head or on the forehead.
    10. Teaser. Open the mouth wide and often and pronounce: pah-pah-pah.

    Training the muscles of the pharynx and soft palate

    1. Yawn with open and closed mouth. Yawn with a wide open mouth breathing the air noisily.
    2. Arbitrarily cough. Cough good enough with the mouth wide open and clenching the fists vigorously. Cough with the tongue pulled out.
    3. Simulate gargling with the head bent backward. Gargle with a thick liquid (jelly, juice with pulp, yogurt).
    4. Swallow water small portions (20 – 30 sips). Swallow the drops of water or juice.
    5. Blow the cheeks with a pinched nose.
    6. Bend the head backward and raise it, the chin leans against your pressed fists.
    7. Pull the tongue out toward the chin; draw it backward into the mouth while overcoming resistance. You are trying to keep the child’s tongue out of his mouth.

    In addition to common articulation exercises I offer also non-traditional exercises that are a kind of a game and evoke positive emotions in children.

    Exercise with a ball

    You will need: a ball with a diameter of 2-3 cm, 60 cm length of the rope, the rope is threaded through the hole in the ball and tied in a knot.

    1. Move the ball with the tongue from side to side along the horizontally stretched rope on the fingers of both hands.
    2. Move the ball upward along the vertically stretched rope (the ball falls freely downward).
    3. The tongue is a “cup”. The goal is to catch the ball into the “cup”.
    4. Catch the ball with the lips, push it out “spitting” vigorously.

    NOTE. While playing you should hold the rope in your hands. Wash thoroughly both the ball and the rope after each lesson with warm water and baby soap and dry with a cloth. The ball should be strictly individual.

    Exercises for the lips, tongue and jaw with a piece of cheesecloth

    The cheesecloth is one-off, strictly individual, dimensions: length 25-30 cm, width 4-5 cm.

    1. The cheesecloth is squeezed tight between the closed and stretched into a smile lips. You try to pull the cloth out overcoming the resistance of the lip muscles. The exercise is being performed for 10 – 15 seconds.
    2. The exercise is done like the exercise 1, but the cloth is squeezed by the lips alternately in the left and right corners of the mouth. Repeat 10 times.
    3. The cheesecloth is squeezed in the right corner of the mouth and is moved alternately from one corner to another one, hands don’t helps. Repeat 10 times.
    4. The cloth is firmly squeezed by the teeth for 10-15 seconds, and then relaxed for a few seconds. Alternate tension and relaxation 10 – 15 times.
    5. The cloth is squeezed not by incisors but molars, alternately with the left and right ones. Repeat 10 times.
    6. The cheesecloth is pressed to the entire surface of the upper lip by the tongue raised up in the form of a wide spade or a pancake. The mouth is wide open. You, like in the exercise 1, are trying to pull the cloth out overcoming the resistance. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds. Repeat up to 10 times.
    7. Unlike the exercise 6, the cloth is pressed by the wide tongue not to the entire surface of the upper lip, but alternately to the left and to the right corner of the mouth. This is performed the way the exercises 1, 6 are.
    8. The cheesecloth is tightly pressed to the entire surface of the lower lip by a wide relaxed tongue in the form of “spade” (“pancake”).

    Have pronunciation disorders been the problem your child faced with? How did you solve it? What tips and techniques have you learned to cope? Share you experience with us, parents!

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