Yesterday morning, I sat in front of my computer screen interacting with Tony, an eager 4th grade student, sitting miles away in his elementary classroom. Since Tony had attention challenges and often forgot previous learned math, reading and spelling skills, he was selected for my intervention program using Cogmed Working Memory Training.
Only a few minutes into the training, I heard Tony exclaim, “I got dis (this) one right! Let me sow (show) you how to do it!”
He sounded so cute when he talked, but for his age, he was lagging behind in his language skills.
I remembered some recent research which had shown improving student’s working memory skills also improved language skills. See research Here
I had an idea…a little experiment.
What if I began working on the speech sounds /th/ and /sh/ which were missing from Tony’s speech? What if we practiced the sounds each day after Cogmed when his mind was opened for learning? Would I see improvement?
I decided to give it a try.
That day, I practiced with Tony to say /th/ and /sh/ sounds in isolation (without any other sounds.) It took multiple trials to get the sound correct but he finally did it!
Then I began to help him blend /th/ and /sh/ sounds with vowels and other consonants into words. Much to my surprise, Tony was getting the idea. Soon we were stringing words into sentences with success!
The following day…
When I met with Tony this morning, I was curious to find out if he remembered our /th/ and /sh/ lesson. Immediately after his working memory training, I had him pronounce words with the target sounds. Tony had no difficulty producing the sounds in words or sentences! There was no need to review and re-teach…he remembered!!! The smile on his face made my heart melt!