Did you ever have those clients that have been working on the /r/ sound for years? We all have. You’ve tried placement using a tongue depressor, peanut butter, mirror, or anything else you can think of but you still get a distorted /r/ sound. These students may have been working on this sound at 6, 7, 8 years of age. By this time he is BORED as he has been working on the same thing and can’t get it right.
You know Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity right?
It’s time to try a different approach. You have nothing to lose.
So what can you try that you may not have already attempted? Why not try an oral motor approach?
While the efficacy of oral motor exercises is a controversial topic, all you have to gain is the chance at a correct /r/ production. Have you done an extensive oral motor examination? Give it a shot!
You will likely find some weaknesses in the oral musculature impacting correct placement for /r/. Focus on making these weak muscles stronger and getting the articulators in the correct placement and the odds are you will get better productions.
Remember that the oral motor strength and movements are NOT the goal of treatment. The production of the sounds and speech intelligibility are the ultimate goal!
Don’t be the definition of insanity…try something different.
What are some of your successful oral motor exercises for improved production of /r/?
For more information and interesting reading on the oral motor controversy, check out The Oral Motor Institute including monographs on the oral motor debate and a recent narrative review by Dr. Kay Kent.