Home Speech-Language Pathology Eliciting the /r/ Sound- Taking the Pain Out of Therapy!

Eliciting the /r/ Sound- Taking the Pain Out of Therapy!

by Erica Gosling
written by

R Graffiti

Photo by CarbonNYC

The /r/ sound is one of the most difficult to teach in therapy. Several of my children struggle to produce the /r/ sound appropriately. Because of this, I wanted to see what other speech-language pathologists were doing during their treatment. I found out some new and interesting techniques that I am definitely going to try with my clients!

  • Auditory Bombardment– One technique, called auditory bombardment, involves the child listening to a repetitive and intense list of words including the targeted sound (in this case, the /r/). This evidence based procedure is supposed to assist children in their rate of sound development.
  • Imitation– This technique may seem obvious (“I keep modeling a good /r/ but they just aren’t appropriately imitating). Another option would be to have the child imitate certain animal sounds that are fun to make and may ease the child’s pressure of trying to model the sound appropriately. Some good animals to imitate are tigers (roarrrrrr), dogs (ruff, ruff), or birds (chirp, chirp).
  • Incorporate mirrors– Although the /r/ sound is hard to see with a mirror, I always like to incorporate them into my therapy sessions to increase awareness of mouth, tongue and lip movements.
  • Jaw movement– I often ask my clients to produce the /L/ sound. While they are doing this, I then model how to gently pull their jaws down until the /r/ sound is eventually reached.

There are plenty of other techniques to produce the /r/ sound, but these are the three that I find the most useful. Have any other techniques you want to share?

(This post originally appeared on Speechbop)


Erica Gosling, MA CCC-SLP is a full time SLP working in both Stamford, CT and New York City. She received her M.A. from New York University. She has worked in a variety of settings including schools, private practices and home based therapy. She has experience with a variety of communication disorders. For more information about Erica and speech therapy, please visit her blog at Speechbop.com.

Related Articles