• User AvatarMiriam McKenzie
  • 17 Mar, 2023
  • 4 Mins Read

It’s not just elocution you know.

Back in the day, elocution lessons were all about teaching someone how to speak clearly and in an accent that was considered to be standard and acceptable. Which was English with rounded vowels, speaking with a plum in your voice was one way of phrasing it.

There are 7 aspects of speech which include learning to modulate your voice, actors do this and good sales people should learn the techniques for this too. Very good sales people can just do it naturally. Projecting your voice is another aspect that is crucial to be heard. It’s learning to put authority into your voice so you can be heard in meetings, with projection you very rarely are spoken over and if you are, you can get the group back to you.

But first you have to learn how to control your breath. Breathing is the third aspect of voice and speech development with relaxation and posture coming in first and second respectively.

Articulation is the aspect you should focus on, if you are wanting to speak clearly so you are easily understood and you stop the questions like ‘can you say that again please’, ‘I didn’t quite understand/hear you’, ‘what did you say’ etc etc etc.

This is the place to focus on for children, around the age of 4 if they aren’t enunciating sounds correctly and in turn pronouncing words correctly too. Learning to enunciate sounds correctly goes a long way, not only for clear and correct speech but also for learning to spell, read and write.

There are 44 sounds in English and 1100 different ways to spell those sounds. With over 170,000 words in English, it is far easier and more effective to learn how to spell the sounds rather than all the words in isolation.

For example; there are 6 different ways to spell the O sound –

no, boat, toe, note, grow, though.

It’s understandable why it’s so hard for anyone to learn how to speak and write in English! There are an increasing number of programmes out there that help children, especially, to learn how to spell by directly linking the sounds with the spelling. But, the biggest problem with the ones I’ve seen (and that’s around 5) is that how to enunciate the sound in the first place has been ignored/

One child I’m currently working with cannot differentiate between SH and S. When she speaks those sounds are the same, so when she writes she spells them exactly the same way too. Same with when she reads. Correctly this sound is actually quite challenging because even though our lips change shape our tongue also is placed in a slightly different position behind our teeth. It is quite frustrating for her and she’s going down a very difficult road teaching herself when to use SH or S when she reads or writes, and it wouldn’t have to be that difficult if she could say those sounds correctly.

My You Tube channel has short videos showing you how to say these sounds, click on the link below if you want to view.

The online course Clear Speech for Children is in depth training for all 44 sounds plus the other 6 aspects of speech training using videos and written materials to support the learning. Click on the button below for a free preview.

Don’t forget you can enter the draw to win the Clear Speech for Children course, valued at $89NZD simply by watching the free preview video of the TH sound.

Thumbs Up for World Down Syndrome Day

My son Luka has Down syndrome and he loves a good thumbs up. He also loves a laugh, a hug and a decent, firm handshake. Not to mention, watches. “Nice watch” is his current favourite statement.

The extra chromosome does bring some issues however, for Luka one such issue has been speech delay. He speaks mainly in two word sentences, and we’ve learned that because that’s all he needs to get his message across (generally) that’s all he’ll say. Wouldn’t we all love to get away with this? His favourite one word sentences include; “Sandwiches” “Snack” “Drink” and “Hot Chips” (technically not one word but it’s only one thing.

He’s got “I love you” under his belt. And “not today” if you ask him at the weekend how school is going. He’ll ask you what your name is and how you are doing while he’s shaking your hand, which is great.

Our speech aspirations for Luka is to be able to say his phone number and address clearly. For everyone to be able to understand what he’s saying, not me translating, and to get his point across without frustration.

As I’m not a speech language therapist, I can only help him with so much but he has a great team around him and he is getting there. My biggest frustration is people not giving him enough time to process a question to answer it before repeating the question. It takes him around 20 seconds to get his answer formed in his head before speaking and for the majority of people in that 20 seconds of silence they feel they need to fill it. But you don’t have to, just give him time.

World Down Syndrome day is supported by wearing odd socks. If you didn’t put odd socks on this morning, it’s not too late to change them when you get home.

Have a great week everyone, Miriam.