When your child attends Speech and Language Therapy, it can look like your child’s therapist is playing. Therapy needs to be fun, which means carrying out therapy through the medium of play. But remember every approach used has evidence behind it. We need to know that therapy will be successful, so an evidence-based approach is essential.
One of the approaches used for Speech Therapy (i.e., working on speech sound production) is the Cycles Phonology Approach. This approach focuses on the patterns and processes rather than each individual sound. For example, it may be working on final consonant deletion, so the omission of the final sound in words. As Speech and Language Therapists we understand that children can get frustrated and fatigued working on the same sound every day. This approach attempts to solve that. Hodson suggests, the approach is also useful for children with more speech sound errors, as therapists see progress in areas not targeted.
How does the Cycles Phonology Approach work?
Your Speech and Language Therapist will assess your child’s speech development and will then analyse the results. They will also look for which sounds they can produce with support (this is called stimulability). They will analyse patterns in the results and will formulate a plan.
The Cycles Phonology Approach intervention allows your child to work in blocks. This might mean they work for half a week for 30 minutes on (e.g., clusters). Then the next half they’ll work for 30 minutes on a different process (e.g., omission of sounds at the end of words).
Research has found that the following error patterns respond well to this approach:
- Syllables (identifying the different parts in a word e.g., “ae-ro-plane”)
- Final Consonant deletion (omission of the final sound e.g., “ca” instead of “cat”)
- Initial consonant deletion (omission of the first sound e.g., “at” instead of “cat”)
- Fronting (instead of making a sound at the back of the mouth, it’s made at the front e.g., “tat” instead of “cat”)
- Backing (instead of making a sound at the front of the mouth, it’s made at the back e.g., “gun” instead of “bun”)
- S blends (e.g., “sl, sm, sn, sk, sw”)
- Gliding of liquids (e.g., “lellow instead of yellow”, “wabbit instead of rabbit”)
What does a Speech and Language Therapy session look like when using the Phonology Cycles Approach?
The format of the session remains the same for whichever speech sound pattern your child is working on. Your child’s Speech and Language Therapist will review the previous session. Then they will use an activity to work on your child hearing the sound several times (this is called ‘auditory bombardment’). Then your child will practise saying the sound. Next, the Speech and Language Therapist will check if your child can say any of the sounds which they haven’t been able to produce before, with support. This is called a stimulability check. After this, your child will take part in an activity which builds their awareness of sounds in words (such as a rhyming or syllable activity). The session will finish with another auditory bombardment task (i.e., hearing their tricky sound repeatedly).
I will give you advice for practising at home, as it’s vital that your child learns in the correct way. We aim for 100 turns in therapy sessions, so it’s vital your child is motivated.
Contact me to improve your child’s speech sounds and improve their confidence when talking.
Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.