Today I was working with a child on establishing correct production of /f/. She’d had been successful with this sound in our previous session but it wasn’t happening as easily this time. I was modeling like crazy, giving visual cues and verbal cues, using motivating contexts, still…no deal. It just wasn’t happening. Taking it in stride, I moved on to some other goals. As a therapist, you just have to know that motor planning is easier somedays than others, and every child has fluctuations in progress. I recited this to myself and focused my energy on the next activity: getting initial and medial sounds in two syllable words. We started playing with a piggy bank toy and she was on a roll requesting “money” and even “more money”. After about ten fabulous productions, she surprised me. I modeled the target phrase “more money” and, expecting another spot-on imitation, waited for her response. She looked at me and produced a picture perfect, clear-as-day /f/ sound. This of course was promptly followed by “more money!”
While her mom and I both laughed, I was reminded of something that’s very easy to forget. Kids are learning. All the time. They’re taking everything in – even when we don’t think we’re getting through. We might not see the results immediately. They might show up tomorrow, or next week. Everything you do provides a model for your child. Use it to your advantage and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see the results you hoped for right away. They’re in there…they’re just waiting for the right time to come out.