I hope you have been enjoying reading this series as much as I have been enjoying writing it. Today we look at a few tips and tricks to elicit SH and CH. Certainly, this is not everything you need to know. These are just some tips that have been proven useful and I wanted to share them.
Usually when a child learns the correct tongue placement for /s/ the other sibilants simply fall into place with little to no attention. However, as with everything else in life, there are exceptions and some need direct instruction. That is what I’ll address today.
Since the large majority of you who are reading this are professional SLPs I am not going to tell you the correct tongue placement. You know it. I will instead elaborate on how to fix what they might be doing wrong.
The most common label for the SH sound is the “be quiet sound.” We visually cue by putting one finger in front of our mouth, pucker our lips, and blow. The simple act of putting one finger in front of your lips causes us to naturally round the lips which is necessary to produce this sound correctly. Most people do not even realize we do this. Cue with this to get lip rounding.
Sometimes a child will make the sound more like the /s/ because they are placing the tongue too far forward in the mouth. Tell them to move it back to mid-palate. If the child does not understand what you are telling them to do use the straw trick. Tell the child to smile broadly and slightly open his mouth. Place a straw laterally across his teeth from cheek to cheek. (I like to use the fat straws from McDonalds but one from your cafeteria will do.) the straw should be sticking out both sides of the mouth. The broader they smile the closer to mid-palate you can postion the straw. Tell them to keep the tongue behind the straw with the tip down. I usually use the wording, “pull your tongue back in a bunch behind the straw.” If you try to produce the SH sound at this point it will sound terrible, so don’t. The point of this is for oral awareness of where mid-palate of the tongue is on SH. Tell them to hold that postion as you ease the straw out of their mouth. Tell them to “freeze” their tongue as they pucker up and blow. It will not sound perfect but it should result in a palatal fricative. Now that you have the mid-palate position you can teach SH as you normally would.
Pam Marshall recommended teaching SH from a Long E to get the correct tongue position. using this method will get the sides of the tongue touching the sides of the teeth. Here’s a link to those instructions: https://pammarshalla.com/teaching-sh/
When a child substitutes a s/sh, My best friend, Leah Musgrave, teaches SH by shaping from the /s/+/j/ (e.g., “miss you”) This is another simple technique for helping the children who sound say /s/ for SH. By saying the words “miss you’ quickly and repeatedly, it will go from sounding luke “miss you” to “mih shoe.” When it does sound like that ask them to mouth the movement for “miss” and then say the “you” part. It will usually sound like shoe instead of sue. After practicing several times, have them say the shoe without the silent mouth movement for “miss.”
A great way to get the child to conceptualize the CH sound is to demonstrate it as the “sneezy” sound. Most kids can imitate that and you are off and running with therapy. Another common label is the Choo-Choo sound. I will try both of these to see which the child prefers. When I demonstrate the sneezy sound, I put my finger under my nose laterally and use an exaggerated inhale while squinting my eyes closed. Then let out an explosive CH erupt. sometimes I will even say “uh, uh, uh” on my exaggerated inhale for dramatic effect. I think my silliness with the sound is all the prompting they need to want to try it themselves. Kids love to act silly!
When I present CH as the “Choo-Choo” sound, I say “ch-ch-ch-ch-ch” with my arms doing the train wheel motion. I begin my choo-choo movements slowly then build in crescendo until my train is going fast. We get up and motor around the room as a train.
Now you are ready to begin therapy. No? The usual and customary visual-auditory prompts didn’t work? Try shaping from a sound they have in their repertoire. One way is to shape from /t/ + SH. Practice saying them separately /t/ pause SH and increase speed until you are saying those two sounds as one which should result in CH.
Another shaping trick is to work from /t/+/s/+/y/ (it’s you). Again you follow the same procedure as for the “miss you” trick in saying it faster until it begins to sound like CH.
One last final trick you might try is to tell them to pretend they are going to say SH get the tongue in the SH position but hold the tongue on the roof of their mouth as they build up air pressure before they release. Sometimes just telling them to push hard on the roof of their mouth will be all they need to get the CH sound.
I know there will be some reading this who have kids who lateralize the SH and the CH. The only trick I have for this is to teach awareness of how they are letting the middle of their tongue touch the roof of their mouth, which is causing the sound to come out the sides. To do this I use the ©Pixy Stix powdered candy. BE SURE TO CHECK FOR FOOD ALLERGIES before attempting this trick!
This is very good for your older students. I explain how the sides of the tongue are the only parts of the tongue that should be touching when saying SH. I also tell them what they are doing wrong. They are letting the middle part of the tongue touch and thus forcing the air to go out the sides. I produce the sound both ways several times until they can identify which is correct. Then I have them stick their tongue out and I pour a small amount of the powdered candy on the middle portion of their tongue (don’t eat it) and say the SH sound. Follow that by looking in a mirror to see how the candy is now on the roof of the mouth in the middle where it shouldn’t be. They can see this is what they are doing. I then discuss again where the tongue should be and we try it again with the child consciously trying to not touch the roof of his mouth. From there I put more candy on the side of the tongue and they try to touch the roof of the mouth with just the sides of the tongue. Again look in the mirror to see where they put their tongue. The powdered candy is a great visual for them to see what they are doing as well as help them see where their tongue needs to go.
Let me offer you some addition resources to follow up with:
I hope I have provided a new trick to try or have pointed you in the right direction.