Mumbling | Elizabeth Gunner

Mumbling or unclear speech is something that we come across most frequently with school aged children. They normally have all the expected speech sounds, but when chatting are just harder to understand.  Some may speak quietly, others may speak too quickly, but overall they are just mumbling!  This reduced intelligibility can stop children participating in class and socialising – so what can we do to help?

Firstly, we need to make the child aware of how their talking sounds.  We can’t expect them to correct anything if they don’t realise they are hard to understand.  An easy way to do…

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Dummies | Elizabeth Gunner

Dummies or pacifiers! – Whatever you call them, this is a subject that often comes up for speech therapists working with younger children.  Are they a problem? Will they affect speech development? When and how can you get rid of them? So today I am going to try and answer some of these questions.  This advice will be suitable for most typically developing children.


Some babies find sucking soothing and they can play a part in settling a baby to sleep. This is often the reason that parents start to use dummies.  There is also some support for dummies helping premature babies…

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Understanding 1 key word | Elizabeth Gunner

We have written before about key words or information carrying words.  You can read that post here.  We talk about key words when we describe a younger child’s understanding of words.

When we talk, ask questions and give instructions, there are usually clues around us that help children understand.  So even if they aren’t sure of the meaning of every word they can still follow the instruction.  For example if its dinner time and you ask them to wash their hands before they eat, the child only really has to understand the word hands to follow the instructions correctly – they know its…

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Teaching f vs th | Elizabeth Gunner

The ‘th’ sound is one that speech therapists are asked about all the time; children saying fank you rather than thank you or calling thumbs, fumbs.  ‘th’ is one of the last sounds to develop in English and it is still within normal limits for a 6 year old to say fumbs.  This can be a little tricky when they are expected to read it correctly at 5! It is also often a part of the local accent. I know many grown ups who don’t use the th sound.

We are often asked about this sound by teachers.  In this case we need to do a little unpicking and find out exactly what the concerns are.  Is the…

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Teaching the function of an object | Elizabeth Gunner

Object function – that is a real speech therapy term!  What I mean is linking a verb to an object e.g. what do we cut with? – scissors, what do we sleep on? – a bed.  So we are linking a function or verb to an item.  This is an important step in language development in younger children.

I often go and see a younger child where the parents are concerned that the child isn’t say much yet.  You will often find that they can name items (nouns), but aren’t yet using verbs. You can read more about encouraging verbs here.  Once a child understands and can use a range of verbs, linking these…

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Top 10 useful tools for a speech therapist. | Elizabeth Gunner

What tools do you really need when you are working as a speech and language therapist? We have written before about resources, games and assessment, but what are the other go-to things we use day in and day out?  These are the bits you find out about along the way, and that I find myself having to explain to my accountant!

Laminator.  A good quality laminator.  I hate to think how many hours I have spent feeding sheets through one!  I have been very lucky and still have my first lamintor that my in laws bought me when I qualified.  It has a few battle scars and has survived 2 house moves!…

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How to use nerf guns in speech therapy! | Elizabeth Gunner

Love them or hate them, a number of young boys (and girls) LOVE nerf guns.  I know my young man does!  I understand that some families don’t allow toy guns or nerf guns and if so this post won’t be for you.  However, if you have some foam/dart/nerf guns, here are some ideas about using them in therapy.  All of these ideas would also work well with water guns in the garden in the summer.

I found this idea when trying to get my son to practise his times tables.  We would stick up sticky notes with the answers on around the room, I would call out a sum and he had to shoot the answer.  It made…

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