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To learn how to say the T sound we must know what each articulator (lips, tongue, teeth, jaw, breath, and voice) does.
Lips: Lips are slightly open and in a slight smile.
Tongue: The tip of the tongue is pressed against the alevolar ridge (the "bumpy part"). The alevolar ridge is located right behind the top teeth. Try it and feel where your tongue is located.
Teeth: Teeth have a VERY slight gap. Make sure the bottom teeth are behind the top teeth.
Jaw: The jaw must be up and stable. Some children move their jaw down or to one side or the other and this can cause errors.
Breath: T is a stop or plosive sound which means the breath bursts out of the mouth upon sound production.
Voice: T is a voiceless sound so our voice box is turned off. To know if your voice box is off, say T while touching your throat. If you don't feel a "buzz," you are doing it right!
Please say T in front of a mirror a few times and look/feel what all your muscles are doing. Once you have a good handle on how to say T, you can teach your child!
How to use this section:
I will introduce all cues that I find helpful. Please read and become familiar with each one. You will not use all of them. Instead, when you are ready to start practicing, you will try a few and figure out which ones are most helpful for your child. Most likely, you will use a combination of a few. Please refer back to this section as needed!
Speech therapists use a variety of cues during therapy including tactile (touch), verbal (words), and visual (visual models/mirrors) to elicit a correct sound production. Below are the most useful cues for T.
1. Open your mouth wide to show how the tongue touches the roof of the mouth behind the teeth. Have your child imitate
2. Point up with a finger to encourage your child to lift their tongue (if applicable).
3. Bite teeth to encourage child to close teeth or put tongue behind teeth (if applicable).
1. Say "tongue up"
2. Say “tongue behind teeth"
3. Say "close teeth"
4. Say "tongue back"
*The verbal cues that you use will depend on your child's errors. Just use the ones that make sense!
1. Push up gently on your child's jaw with 2 fingers while holding the top of their head stable to encourage the jaw to lift up and close.
2. Tell your child to touch teeth with an index finger to make sure that he/she can't feel their tongue and/or the teeth are closed.
Now that your know how to say T and what cues are helpful, head over to Teach T & Syllable Practice to start teaching and practicing!