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Addressing Articulation in Speech Therapy: What Do SLPs Actually Do?

Updated: Apr 11

There's a reason not just anyone can provide speech therapy for articulation errors

If I had a nickel for every time a teacher or caregiver asked a student of mine, "What did you do in speech therapy today?" and my student responded, "We played a game!", I'd be writing this blog post in a nicer apartment.

While I'm glad my students are perceiving their articulation speech therapy sessions as fun, there's a little part of me that wants to say, "Yes, Johnny, we played a game, but what you didn't notice while you were having fun was that you made important insights about your phonological system while using the minimal pairs contrastive intervention approach, and, for the first time ever, your peer actually understood which card you were asking for while playing Go Fish!"

So much happens below the surface in our job and the better clinicians we become, the easier it looks to outsiders!

Now I know we are far from the only field where there is a large disconnect between what people think we do and what we actually do. I'll admit that when someone tells me they work in finance, I picture them sipping coffee in front of an Excel spreadsheet. Or if someone tells me they're a lawyer, I picture them up late, researching cases in dusty books. Most jobs are far more complex than people realize.

When I tell people I'm a speech-language pathologist (and then often have to clarify that some people call me a speech therapist - a term I have a complicated relationship with), I imagine they picture me fixing lisps and playing games with kids. So I decided to break down ONE PART of what pediatric SLPs do into public perception versus reality. It was a satisfying endeavor!

I'm tempted to do a similar version for language, but it might just be way too complicated to illustrate!

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!

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Did you find this blog post helpful? Subscribe below to get the latest blog posts, which feature lots of speech therapy ideas for busy SLPs who want to provide fun, impactful, and meaningful speech-language therapy.

Have you heard? StoryWhys now offers the Speech and Spell series of resources. I am always trying to tie articulation work and spelling together in my therapy and I've never found any good resources out there to help me do this. So I made my own! Many more speech sounds and spelling rules to come. They'll be 50% off for 48 hrs when new resources are added to the StoryWhys store. Find them here.

Did you know book companions can be among the best speech therapy materials for elementary students? Explore all of the StoryWhys book companions for speech therapy in my store. You'll find comprehensive book companions that target many different language skills or Spotlight Series book companions that focus on one type of skill, all using high-quality, beloved storybooks.



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