Does your child, student or client say "T" instead of "K"?
One of the most common errors for children who struggle to pronounce the back tongue (velar) sounds K and G (/k/ and /g/) is to replace these sounds with tongue tip (alveolar) sounds - T and D (/t/ and /d/) - respectively. This is known as "velar fronting". S-LPs - for a deeper explanation of the physiology behind velar fronting). check out Joanne Cleland et al's superb article.
Helping with velar fronting:
When first introducing K and G sounds, it's best to avoid words that also have T and D sounds, and to try use words whose vowels are closer to K and G. E.g. "cow" with a low BACK vowel is a better choice than "key", because the BACK vowel helps with the BACK tongue movement for K. I often find words that end in K easier (e.g. baCK, waKe etc.). TIP: with words ending in G or D, be careful not to exaggerate the G or D as you risk adding a vowel e.g. "BAGUH" for "BAG". It's often helpful to model the final G as a K as we often devoice final consonants.
Nevertheless, once children's K and G sounds become more consistent, they will need to practice transitioning from tongue tip movement for T and D to back tongue movement for K and G, and vice versa. I consider this its own stage in intervention, and at this stage transitioning between tongue tip and back tongue movement is the goal.
In the examples pictured, I use single-syllable words, but it's important that these transitions can happen between words (e.g. piCK iT) and in longer/polysyllabic words - e.g. deCoraTe.
What's that Sound? Speech Sound Cards include many cues that you can use to help children establish these sounds and practice their TriCKy transitions!
Check out our FREE downloadable Gecko Activity Sheet in the store to help kids practice their K and G sounds!
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