1st & 2nd Straight Talk

What are your choices if your child has either delayed speech or pronunciation problems? You can obtain evaluations and speech therapy either privately (costly) or from the public school system. Here's another option. You can utilize one or both of the Straight Talk manuals and work with your child one-on-one from user-friendly lessons developed by a licensed, certified speech-language pathologist who is a Christian with a passion for helping the words of all children to be aptly spoken (Proverbs 25.11).

Numerous studies have shown that family involvement and active participation in a child's therapeutic speech program is a key factor in the child's progress. According to author Marisa Lapish, the home environment provides optimum therapeutic conditions because the child can receive individualized treatment as well as group interaction; because the adult-child rapport is already established and the home environment is familiar; and because both parent and child are motivated to succeed.

1st Straight Talk was written for children with simple, common, developmental misarticulations. First, a complete diagnostic and evaluative approach is outlined. An Age-Sound Chart gives the approximate age at which each consonant sound is acquired (children rarely have trouble with vowel sounds). A Word Probe is conducted by using a list of words containing the child's error sound at the beginning, middle and end of words. Also utilized is a Quick Mini-Evaluation of Sounds that aids in identifying specific sound errors. After determining the extent of any difficulties, then in-depth "Basic Training" provides a step-by-step procedure for sound correction. This process involves correction of the sound alone; then the sound in syllables; then the sound in words; the sound in sentences; and the sound in conversational speech. A Sound Analysis Chart helps the parent compare the correct sound with the child's replacement sound in terms of lip, tongue, and teeth placement along with other components. The first step in sound correction is always teaching the sound in isolation and much help is provided for this in terms of teaching sequences, suggestions for reinforcement, repetition, and evaluation. Similar teaching plans follow for the other steps. The Consonant Cookbook (Part 2) lists each sound, gives correct position of lips, teeth, tongue, etc. and provides teaching cues such as "pretend you're going to sneeze, push hard against the roof of your mouth with your tongue and make a sneezing sound, 'choo' (not 'achoo')" for the "ch-j" sound. The Appendix includes reproducible forms for planning and record-keeping as well as training material and activities complete with patterns. Program binder can be purchased with or without a 30 minute DVD that shows the author demonstrating how to make specific sounds.

2nd Straight Talk was written to aid parents in training a child to develop and use appropriate language skills and is obviously targeting developmentally delayed children. Part 1 is a discussion of the process of listening as the basic block building block for language learning. This includes a series of auditory training exercises to build up listening skills. Part 2 is a brief discussion of communication problems. Included here is also the practical nuts and bolts of actual language training - language skill assessment, language modeling techniques, and plans for implementing language training sessions. Again, the Appendix includes reproducible assessment, training, and record-keeping forms as well as language activity ideas.

These manuals provide a much-needed and valuable resource for homeschooling parents. They are obviously the work of a trained speech pathology professional but they also reflect a home-grown publishing effort. Although text is presented with clarity, artwork in 1st Straight Talk is hand drawn with an amateur flair while 2nd Straight Talk utilizes black and white clip art. And the cost reflects a very limited publication effort. Nevertheless, they provide a concerned parent with both a workable immediate plan and a means of determining when further professional help might be necessary. ~ Janice

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