Letter and Word Reversals
b d confusion
If the student forms the letter 'a' in the correct manner - then the letter 'd' is like a tall 'a' Knowing that 'small b' is like 'capital B' without a 'hat' can help. Use the (Bb) tile to demonstrate this. Complete the tracing task.As 'q' is always with a 'u' the p/q confusion does not persist as long as b/d confusion. The (bed) image is stable. The 'bat & ball' or 'drum & stick' crutches are not, students, particularly those with sequencing problems, often forget the order - ('stick & drum').
Letter Formation is VERY important. Knowing that 'small b' is like 'capital B' without a 'hat' can help. Cutout the graphic below as a reminder for students who find this a challenge. If you laminate the strip the student can trace over theletters with a wipe-out pen repeatedly till they form a proprioceptive (muscle) memory of the letter shape; at this stage you can instruct the student to make the 'b' sound as they trace the shape. It take a lot of practice to eradicate a long standing confusion. The student will dispense with the graphic when they gain sufficient confidence.
If you try to intervene too much it can cause unnecessary stress. The proprioceptive pathway will support the auditory & visual pathways. Many adults when asked how to spell a word will say,"Let me write it down." They then use visual recognition to see if it 'looks right'.
p q confusion
There is another little trick you may like to try with younger students who exhibit p/q confusion. Cut out the graphic below and sit it on the work-table for the student to refer to at any time.Tell the student "This is 'Peter Postman. He delivers letters into the post boxes. Now he always starts at the margin and walks in the same direct as you make your pen go when you write. The important thing is that he needs to look where he is going. Only a 'Silly Postman' would walk backwards trying to post letters!"
Margins are a great convention. It was a sad time when they went out of fashion. Students find it comforting to know exactly where to begin writing. This also holds true for letter formation. Make sure that the letter is always scribed in the same way - this aids recall - so much so that it can prevent letter reversals from occurring in the first place. For remediation it is vital. The student must begin on the dot - make a downward stroke through the line - then up and around. After visual matching comes sound matching
As well as visual similarities there are sound similarities between b & d and b & p. Sound confusions (the student reads 'big' as 'pig' or writes 'pan' as 'ban') are dealt with in one of two ways. You can either 'show' the student the mouth position for making the sound, ordemonstrate that one is 'voiced' and the other 'unvoiced'.
Take care that you NEVER put vowel sounds after the sound - it is NOT 'puh' - you do not sound p-i-g as puh-i-guh. The 'p' is merely a little puff of air.The only other way to deal with these problems is by using more complex positions of the mouth and tongue. Only a speech therapist has the expertise to do this. If the two simpler techniques above fail to work then refer to a qualified speech therapist.
The 'Sound Confusion Cards' and the 'Sound Confusion Practice Strips' cover the most common errors. Again, if the student experiences excessive sound confusions refer to a professional. A child with 'glue ears' or 'grommets' may not hear the distinction between similar sounds.
The most common sound confusions (teaching tips)b d confusion
The 'b' sound begins with lips together. / The 'd' sound is uttered with lips apart.
The 'b' sound is noisy (voiced) - you can shout it. / The 'p' sound is a quiet (unvoiced) puff of air - you can't shout it. .... Likewise; m n confusion
The 'm' sound begins with two fat lips pressed together saying 'm'. / The 'n' sound is uttered with lips apart and the tongue behind the top teeth.g c confusion
The 'g' sound is noisy (voiced) - you can shout it. / The 'c' (as in 'cat' ) sound is a quiet (unvoiced) puff of air - you can't shout it. d t confusion
The 'd' sound is noisy (voiced) - you can shout it. / The 't' sound is a quiet (unvoiced) puff of air - you can't shout it. v f confusion
The 'v' sound is noisy (voiced) - you can shout it. / The 'f' sound is a quiet (unvoiced) puff of air - you can't shout it. ... v th confusion
The 'v' and 'f' sounds are made with the top teeth on the lower lip. The 'th' sound is made with the tongue poking out between the teeth.i e a u confusion
he short vowel sounds 'i', 'e', 'a' and 'u' (as in 'bit' 'bet' 'bat' & 'but') are often confused. Vowels sound confusions are often difficult to remediate. The order I have given (i e a u) is important - 'i' is the most closed mouth, followed by the 'e' then the 'a' and finally the 'u' - 4 descending positions of the chin. The 'o' (as in 'hot') is rarely confused with other short vowel sounds.
© Jean C Harrison 2010