Some of the speech sounds do come later in life - like the "L" sound typically doesn't present itself until around the four or five years of life. Ben's issues were the "th", "L", and "r" sounds. He began to go to speech two times a week for thirty minutes each time.
In the year since he has done remarkable. He has mastered the "th" and the "L" sounds. The only thing that is left if the "r" sound. He has trouble especially with the blends - "er", "ir", "ar" etc.
Last Friday I helped in Ben's classroom as they had a celebration of learning their multiplication tables. Towards the end of the celebration (yes, celebration because you can't have a party in the school...yeah....I know) it was time for him to leave for his time with Mrs. Davis.
After walking him over, I asked her if I could stay. After all that I have done in the school, I have never been apart of the speech therapy and wanted to see how she worked with Ben and the other students. I was very glad when she had no problem letting me sit in on the session.
Benjamin first listened to a computer program where it modeled words with the "r" blends. He hates to do this. He claims that it's boring. He just sits there. But deep in his brain - it's working. Then he was able to play Go Fish with the other students all of which had the same speech issues. Now this was different kind of Go Fish.
The deck of cards they used had pictures of words with the "r" blend such as flower, bird, sister. I hope whomever came up with this idea is making some money - what a brilliant idea! They students couldn't just show the picture. They had to say "Do you have a flower?" What made it ever better was one of the students name is Cameron - there's that "r" blend! So, Mrs. Davis had them say his name a lot. Also, if they were the second to answer then they had to say "I don't have a flower, either."
It was fun seeing Mrs. Davis working not only with Benjamin, but also the other students. One of the students there I had known since my early subbing days. I was amazed at how much he has grown in the two years.
Ben is doing great. No one is asking him to repeat himself anymore - that has lowered his frustration level greatly. Mrs. Davis thinks he'll master this "r" sound by the end of the year - as she says -"he'll graduate".