Communication Matters

Ultrasound Speech Therapy Tackles "R" and "S" Difficulties

Ultrasound 1Does your child struggle with producing the “r” sound? Do they have a slushy “s” sound? If this is true for your child who is 8 years of age or older, they have what is called residual speech sound disorder (RSSD). Many children with RSSD have been in years of therapy with little to no improvement in their speech. This can be frustrating and discouraging for both the child and their parents.  

Ultrasound may be the answer for many children with RSSD. By placing a small wand under their chin, the child is able to see their tongue moving in real-time! Ultrasound makes speech visible. The client no longer has to depend just on what they hear and how their tongue feels. Now they can see what their tongue looks like! This type of speech therapy is called visual biofeedback. Visual biofeedback simply means that visual feedback is available to the client that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to see. In other words, ultrasound makes speech visible!  

Ultrasound has the strongest evidence base of any type of visual biofeedback. Many studies have shown that it is effective for helping children and adults 8 years of age and older produce more accurate speech, especially for the “r” sound. If you’d like to take a dive into the research, Preston, and colleagues, 2014 and 2020 are a good starting point. There are examples of children in those studies who have struggled for years with the “r” sound who were able to make significant progress towards producing a correct “r” with a course of ultrasound visual biofeedback.  

The most common sounds addressed with Ultrasound are “r,” “s,” “sh,” and “ch.” Ultrasound is best for children who are 8 years of age or older and can also be used with adults with RSSD. Sessions are generally 45 minutes long and are available at our University Circle location.  

If you or your child is frustrated with a lack of speech sound progress, ultrasound speech therapy could be the answer! 

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Rebecca Mental at or 216-231-8787.

Tags: Speech, Language, Communication, talking, Speech therapy, ultrasound, ultrasound speech therapy, R speech therapy



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