This is Part 2 of a previous post focusing on training slow speech rate. Find Part 1 here.
When working on teaching a slow rate of speech, the 3rd and final step to making slow rate a habit, is for a child to self-monitor his/her own speech rate. I call this skill “Listening to myself”. I do this by using three basic techniques we as SLPs tend to use when focusing on correct articulation production and/or fluency.
The key is to use the techniques that work for the child across all levels of speech complexity (word, phrase, sentence, reading (if a reader) and conversation level). This means I may have to use a variety of cues to determine the cuing system (verbal, visual, tactile) that will work for this child. I remember that I am scaffolding the child to use a skill I have already taught him/her: a slow speech rate.
- Types of Modeling: (including previously taught techniques in Part 1)
- Over Exaggeration
- Consistent use of slow rate by SLP
- Verbal Reminders:
- Directives: (explain exactly what you want the child to do) “Slow down”, “Make sure you pause when speaking”, “Take some breaths”.
- Feigning Misunderstanding: (pretend you can only understand the child when he/she uses a slow rate) “I’m sorry, what did you say?”, or “I can’t understand you when you talk so quickly”.
- Descriptive Speech: “Remember to use your turtle talk” or “Remember to snail sail your messages”
2. Using Visual Cues: I create visual cues that can be used independently or go along with the descriptive speech reminders above. Below are some of the visuals I use to cue use of slow speech or to have the student evaluate his own speech rate and determine which pace he is using. I like to laminate these and glue to a Popsicle sticks so they can be held up easily. You can grab your FREE copy of these visual cues here!
- Understand/Aware of “Confusion”: I want my student to know what it looks like when someone is confused by his/her speech production. To do this I begin by using a number of emotions pictures (the ones I use for my children with ASD) and have the child label the pictures that represent when a listener is confused vs. understanding.
- Describe confusion:We discuss how confusion can be visualized at times by “facial muscles are strained-pinched eyebrows or raised eyebrows and enlarged eyes, shoulder shrug, open mouth, and even a long pause after you are finished talking”.
- Describe understanding: We know someone is understanding us when they are “nodding their head in agreement, looking us in the eye, smiling, facial muscles relaxed, etc.”.
- Label Confusion/Understanding in SLP facial expressions: Then we practice labeling confusion vs. understanding first in my facial expressions and what to do IF confusion is identified (a.k.a. slow down speech rate!).
- Label Confusion/Understanding in peer’s facial expressions: Then we spend time labeling confusion vs. understanding in peer’s facial expressions and what to do IF confusion is identified.