Purpose: This tutorial summarizes current best practices in treating American English /r/ distortions in children with residual speech errors. Method: To enhance the effectiveness of clinicians’ cueing and feedback, the phonetics of /r/ production is reviewed. Principles of acquisition, which can inform how to practice /r/ in the early stages of therapy, are explained. Elements of therapy that lack scientific support are also mentioned. Results: Although there is significant variability in /r/ production, the common articulatory requirements include an oral constriction, a pharyngeal constriction, tongue body lowering, lateral bracing, and slight lip rounding. Examples of phonetic cues and shaping strategies are provided to help clinicians elicit these movements to evoke correct /r/ productions. Principles of acquisition (e.g., blocked practice, frequent knowledge of performance feedback) are reviewed to help clinicians structure the earliest stages of treatment to establish /r/. Examples of approaches that currently lack scientific support include nonspeech oral motor exercises, tactile cues along the mylohyoid muscle, and heterogeneous groupings in group therapy. Conclusion: Treatment strategies informed by phonetic science and motor learning theory can be implemented by all clinicians to enhance acquisition of /r/ for children with residual errors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Speech and Hearing
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language