About the presenter: Melissa M. Potemra works at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, SC. She received her bachelor's degree from Auburn University and her master's degree from MUSC. Melissa also studied under Alice Anne Farley, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, BRS-FD. She sees a variety of fluency patients from pediatric to adults and hopes to one day pursue a specialty certification in fluency disorders.


Speech Pacing: Dots to help me talk

by Melissa Montiel Potemra
from South Carolina, USA

The Purpose:

The purpose of speech pacing, as we all know, is rate reduction. The problem I encounter is that children don't often understand the term "slow down." Even if they do, they have an enormous difficulty applying it to everyday speaking. In addition, it is difficult for the parents to remind their children every time they speak to "slow down." However, I found that the "dot talking" exercise gives kids and parents a fun and practical way to reduce rapid speech rate.

The activity:

Adapted from Alice Anne Farley's Color Me Fluent program, I set out a series of approximately 4 dots (stickers, poker chips, etc) in front of both myself and the child.

We draw a picture from a stack of cards and make up a "silly story" about each picture. If single photos are too difficult, an actual story card may be used. We take turns doing this and each dot represents a word. For example, if I draw a picture of a monkey, I could say "The monkey swings from his tail." Each time I say a new word, I touch a different dot. The game can be changed in several ways, for example, you can draw 2-3 cards and have each story include the words. This helps increase language planning in addition to speech pacing. To avoid a monotone quality, you can have the child ask a question about the picture, or be excited, sad, mad, or any other emotion. You can also ask the child questions without picture cues (favorite movies, food) and use conversational speech with the dots. We call it "dot talking" which is very useful for parents to use at home as a reminder. Eventually, you fade the dots and uses cues for "dot talking" as necessary.


SUBMITTED: March 8, 2010

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