Speech fronting but vowel/sound dependent

Hello! My 4yo is seeing a speech therapist for fronting (g sounds like D’s and c/k’s sound like t’s). The interesting part is that it depends to be vowel specific. For example- he can say candy, gate, key, kite, king, just fine but car sounds like tar, cookie is tookie, etc. Is this normal fronting or is something else going on that needs to be addressed?

Additionally, he has a hard time saying toy/boy/oil. Also has a difficult time saying girl.

Thank you.

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Hi there, and thanks so much for this question! I’m going to tag some amazing speech therapists to see if we can get some more insight!

@Speechwithjwo @Twowayspeech @abg_speechtherapy

Thank you!

Hi! If your kiddo is starting to say the sounds in some words it could be a few things- 1) they’re starting to get it and working toward mastery or 2) it’s word dependent. For number 2 sometimes it depends on what the other sounds are around the target sound that make it harder or easier to produce the target sound.

Sounds like your speech-language pathologist is right on track. Since I haven’t seen your child I can’t provide individual advice, but this is what I see with may of my clients. In fact I worked on this today in therapy. I typically see initial k and g come with some vowels faster than other vowels. At this point in therapy I start to look even deeper with how their jaw is grading.

  1. Can the jaw make precise small coordinating movements while saying vowel sounds? For example how is the child’s endurance when they say vowels 5-10x in a row. For example oy,oy, oy… or ee-I, ee-I, ee-I… If the jaw starts slipping or they can’t say these things in a row you may want to work on endurance of jaw grading and coordination.
  2. I also look at how their jaw stabilizes in order for the tongue to move independently to say the K sound.

Some activities I may do to help include:

  1. Singing old mac donald and practicing ee-I, ee-I O, pretending we are monkeys and saying oo-ee, oo-ee, singing Down by the Bay since the jaw moves for the words, Bay, Grow, Home…

  2. I may practice the consonant k or g and change the vowel, Key, Ko, Koo, Cow, Go…

  3. Practice tongue movement from back to front or front to back of the mouth. Saying k-t, k-t 5-10x in a row or t-k, t-k 5-10x in a row then add a vowel with that and change the vowels.

Keep up all the good work your therapist is doing and since they can provide the best individualized plan.

In terms of the word “girl” R is one of the latest developing sounds, and rl is one of the hardest consonant combinations I work on. As the jaw becomes better at coordinating moments and stabilizing to allow tongue separation you will see the child begin to say this sound.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions!

Janice M.A. CCC-SLP

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