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Speech in the Schools

Naturalistic Repetition

Published January 31, 2016 5:51 PM by Teresa Roberts

Clinicians typically rely heavily on the phrases “say it again” and the mind-numbing “one more time” in articulation therapy. Intervention for speech sound disorders generally includes repeated trials of target words to facilitate auditory discrimination of correct/incorrect productions, self-monitoring of accuracy, and the formation of a new pattern of motor planning and execution for the articulators. Students may be instructed to repeat target productions multiple times in formalized tasks.

Adding naturalistic conversational, teaching, and pretend play strategies helps encourage repetition in a less formal manner, which may increase generalization. Conversational strategies may be common requests for clarification. Teaching strategies involve independent practice and showing others what to do. Pretend play adds varied paralinguistic elements, including intonation patterns. We can use engaging and interactive ways to elicit repetition:

•    Appear to become distracted by other tasks and pretend that you didn’t hear the student’s production: “Sorry I missed that. I’m ready. Let’s hear it. I’m watching now.”

•    Mock (and genuine) surprise with praise: “What just happened? That sounded amazing! I can’t believe it. Let’s hear it again.”

•    Give the student a few moments of independent practice: “This is a tricky word. Practice it by yourself for a couple minutes and then tell me when your ready.” (Pretend to work on other tasks and look away from the student.)

SEE ALSO iPad Use for Children With Apraxia 

•    Ask for self-monitoring while giving praise: “Did you hear how you said that? It was awesome! I want to hear it again. Listen to how you do it.”

•    Praise and request to watch for understanding: “That was incredible. Do it again so I can watch and figure out just how you did it.”

•    Praise and ask for self-report: “It was amazing when you said, (target word). Do it again so you can tell us how you did it.”

•    Praise and watch self: “That sounded so clear. Look in the mirror and do it again so you can see how great that was.”

•    Praise and show peer: “You did awesome! Show (peer name) what you just did.”

•    Role-play: “Ready, pretend you are the movie announcer at the theater. Say it again, like the announcer says it.” (Vary situations for different settings). “Now pretend you are the waiter at a restaurant offering dessert.”

•    Praise and add pretend emotion: “That sounded great. Pretend that there are no desserts and say it in a sad way.” (Vary situations for different emotions.) “Now pretend that there are lots of desserts and say it in an excited way.”

•    Ask a question that requires the use of the word that the student has just produced: “Dessert. Hmm, is your favorite dessert a baked dessert or a frozen dessert?” or “Dessert. Do you like chocolate desserts or fruit desserts?”

There are many ways to embed requests for repetition. We can help give each repetition a specific goal and communicative purpose beyond “say it again.”

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1 comments

Wonderful insight. I  agree that it's quality and not quantity,  particularly for secondary students. I find your "suggested practices" very helpful to replace "say it again ".

Ilene Clingmon February 13, 2016 7:10 PM
Altadena CA

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About this Blog


    Speech in the Schools
    Occupation: School-based speech-language pathologists
    Setting: Traditional and specialized K-12 classrooms
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