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Why You Shouldn’t Tell your Students To Smile During Speech Therapy for the R Sound

Hear me out…

I’m not saying there’s no laughing and having fun in therapy for the R sound- far from it! I encourage you to get creative and live it up. Make it enjoyable for all parties involved.

But I am saying to stop cueing kids to smile.

Say whaaaaat? I know. Most of us have probably used the cue to “smile big” in a desperate effort to keep that /w/ out of their R target words. What’s important to realize though is that our lips don’t spread when saying the R sound. If anything, they actually round and protrude a little tiny bit.

So how do we cue them then?

Preston, Benway, Leece, Hitchcock, and McAllister are here to help us out. Try these verbal cues instead:

💡 “keep the lips steady”

💡 “don’t push the lips too far forward”

💡 “keep the corners of your lips tight”

I hope this informs your evidence-based practice when treating the R sound in your speech therapy room! For more EBP tips and R therapy ideas, become one of my VIPs! Not only do you get exclusive goodies and therapy ideas, but you also get instant access to my freebie library. Pretty sweet!

Keep rockin’ that R my friends!

speechy things slp speech therapy signature

Hi I’m Lindsey! I’m a pediatric SLP who specializes in the R sound. Fun fact- I actually used to dread the R but after dedicating a lot (like… a lot a lot) of time to researching and troubleshooting… I now love it! So much, in fact, that I currently spend my days treating “R kids” via my private practice and creating R resources and continuing education for SLPs via Speechy Things. I’m so glad you found me! Let’s “Rock the R” together!

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