This week I want to tell you about Cued Articulation. It's a series of hand gestures to support a child who is having difficulty with their speech sounds. A child who has speech sound difficulties can often get confused as to when to use their new sound; even if they are able to imitate that sound in isolation. You can listen to this blog if you prefer:

Or watch my video (complete with bleating lambs in the background!) here:

This week I was seeing a little girl who had difficulty with articulation and she was really struggling to understand which sound she should use when. I instantly used Cued Articulation and immediately everything just fell into place for her. Cued Articulation is  another form of visual support for a child. It was devised by Jane Passy back in the 70's (even before my time!!) and I've been a big fan of it ever since I came across it. Sometimes I don't even realize I'm doing it and then early years practitioners might then ask what I'm doing! So, I figuered if they are interested then so might you be!

When we look at speech sounds as a speech and language therapist, there are three things that we're generally looking at with each sound:

1) Voice -  or whether the sound is voiced or voiceless. If it's a voiced sound - a loud sound - the vocal folds are vibrating. If it's a voiceless sound -a quiet sound - the vocal folds are not vibrating. (You can feel this if you put your fingers on your neck and compare how it feels when you say ssss and then zzzzz) 

2)Manner -  that means is the sound a short or a long sound,  for example is there a buildup of pressure behind the lips for /p/. That's a stop or short sound. Sounds we call it a plosive.  If it's a longer sound that means there's friction of the air where the sound is being articulated. So for example, with /f/ the airflows through the bottom lip and teeth (this sound is a fricative)

3)Place - This is where the sound is produced in the mouth. A /p/ is with the lips. Or a /k/ is produced at the back of the mouth with the back of the tongue. A /t/ is at the front of the mouth with the tip of the tongue.

So you can see, this can get quite complicated if you're a child with speech sound difficulties!

This is where Cued Articulation Comes in (Drum Roll Please!!)

Cued articulation really just helps to show the child more about the sound than if you're just saying the sound and they have to listen.  It's difficult for a child to see what's going on in your mouth, but if you're using your hands that will help!

So voice is represented by the number of fingers. Quiet sound = one finger, Noisy sound (voiced) = two fingers.

The manner of the of the sound is indicated by either a short movement or a longer movement with your fingers.

Then for place,  you're going to put your fingers to indicate where the sound is produced. This is where watching my video will be more helpful!

When I was working with a child this week she was finding it difficult to know when to use /t  and /k/ particularly when a word has both sounds in the word. For example with the word "Take" she was saying "tait" she was saying "Cake" she was saying "Kate" - she didn't quite know how to use those sounds. But as soon as I used Cued Articulation, she was immediately cued into being able to say those sounds more effectively.

Here's the link to all the lovely resources. And if you would like to see a video of all the cued articulation signs, here's one straight from the horse's mouth by Jane Passy.

There's no pdf this week (sorry!) Instead  I'm posting some cued articulation common sounds/signs below in  very short videos in my email newsletter. If you read this blog without having signed up to my newsletter, sign up here.


Have you used Cued Articulation in your setting? Like my facebook page to comment or sign up to receive these blogs straight into your inbox if you haven't already done so!