What’s your Learning Style? New Science behind s-sound Articulation

What’s your Learning Style? New Science behind s-sound Articulation

Our Seal Speech Buddy took center stage in a recent study published in the Pennsylvania Speech & Hearing Association journal, and the results are in. After only 4 hours of speech therapy, students using Speech Buddies were pronouncing 75% of their s-sounds correctly while students using traditional visual and auditory cues, pronounced only 45% of their s-sounds correctly.

Turns out, the secret to s-sound articulation is “learning styles.”

What’s your learning style?

Visual Learner Tarsier
The idea is simple, some of us learn better by talking about an idea, or perhaps by mapping out an idea. A good teacher brings many learning modes into their classroom, knowing that “aha moments” come most easily when all the senses have a chance to contribute. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Verbal – Do you need to talk it out? Does it click when you explain it to someone else? That’s verbal learning at work.
  • Visual – Is there pile of post-it notes next to you? Fond of doodling during calls? You might be a visual learner.
  • Tactile – Sports, bread-baking, dancing, managing a toddler birthday party — tactile learners excel here.

Naturally, this idea extends to speech therapy. In the study, all students are treated with visual and verbal instructions about how to make the s-sound, but the students using Speech Buddies have the benefit of a “tactile” learning experience as well. Using the Seal Speech Buddy helps a student understand exactly where to put their tongue to pronounce the s-sound correctly.

Tactile Learning is Key

Here’s the fine print in the study: while the study says that students without Speech Buddies are getting 45% of their s-sounds correct, that’s really an average of all the students in the study. A few students get ALL of their s-sounds correct with just a couple hours of verbal prompting and visual instruction.

But most students continue to struggle to pronounce the s-sound without tactile feedback. In the group that used Speech Buddies, only one student continued to struggle with the s-sound by the study’s conclusion. For some of us, it’s going to be very difficult to learn with just verbal prompting and visual cues. Fortunately, for common sounds, there is a Speech Buddy Tool that can help.

Impact on Parents and Students, and all of us

Outside of a study, kids who continue to have difficulty producing correct sounds will continue practicing, working with what they can to improve their articulation. But consider this quote from the paper’s introduction:

Articulation and speech sound disorders affect as many as 7.5% of the school-age population and can negatively impact teacher perceptions of students with reduced speech intelligibility as well as inter-peer relationships … Apart from this documented personal cost, articulation and speech sound disorders contribute to an estimated annual cost to society of between $30 billion and $154 billion in lost productivity, special education services, and medical care.

One little Speech Buddy Tool can have a lot of impact.

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