One of the ways to speed up the progress of a child through therapy is to find therapy compatible sounds. These are sounds that one can correct at the same time. I have found that the /s/, “sh,” “ch” and “j” are just such sounds. This is especially true if the child frontalizes all four. When targeting these sounds, I assume that I will be able to correct them at once, unless the shows me otherwise during each step in the sound correction process.

I start out by working on all four in isolation. Let us assume that the child is able to say all in isolation. I then move her on to the next step, initial sound in simple syllables, as outlined in my Help Me Talk Right book How to Teach a Child to Say the “S” Sound in 15 Easy Lessons. The only difference is that in addition to the production of /s/ at each step, the child will be asked to produce the other sounds in turn. Thus, if the child is working at on producing the sounds in words in initial position, I will have at my ready the appropriate pictures for “sh,” “ch” and “j” (all /s/ worksheets are included in the book).  

It is nice if the progress of all sounds occurs in tandem. What do I do if the acquisition of any of the sounds becomes more problematic? Sometimes the child is only able to focus on one sound. In that case, I target /s/ first since it occurs much more frequently in English than the others and will have a greater impact on her intelligibility. When she is halfway through the program, I begin again to work on “sh,” “ch” and “j” from the beginning with the assumption that she will be able to work on the three together. On the other hand, if the child has difficulty with /s/ but not the others, I will focus on them and hold off on /s/. About halfway through the program, I will start to work on /s/ from the beginning of the program.