If one considers Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, they have one thing in common other than the most obvious. All three men have proved themselves as excellent orators. This skill is a gift of the perfected crisp articulation.
One needs to perfect their enunciation so that it is lucid and coherent. Not everyone is gifted with clear speech. This is where articulation or diction exercises or speech therapy games and activities come into the picture.
Contrary to popular beliefs, it is not the case that only individuals with a speech impediment need these exercises. Even regular individuals who are aspiring voice-over artists or orators can greatly benefit from these activities. Even children can improve their speech imperfections with these exercises.
Although children do make errors while speaking and most of us find it thoroughly enthralling, but after a certain age, children should be phonetically clear. If this doesn't happen, a child is said to be suffering from one of the types of speech disorders. In the case of adults, certain injuries and at times strokes can lead to a speech impediment.
Preschoolers generally make errors which sounds like "r" and pronounce the word with a "w" for instance "woom" instead of "room". This is common in all children and is not a speech disorder, but the real red flag goes up when a child pronounces "cup" as "tup" or "swim" as "wim". Speech repair activities for kids need to be fun and playful.
So, what you can do is, identify the sound he finds difficult to make. Focus all your activities to target this sound.
- Take your kid for a walk, you can play "I spy" and make your little one guess words which are specific to that sound.
- Another speech therapy activity that professionals use is to make the correct sound standing in front of a mirror. The child is supposed to notice the mouth and the tongue movement and imitate the sound.
Stuttering, lisping, and speaking too fast are some of the problems faced by slightly older children. Articulation exercises for teens need to be creative and captivating as the main aim of the activity should be to keep the teen interested in the exercise and to encourage a coherent flow of conversation.
- You can ask your teen to list out his favorite personalities. Then ask him to explain to you why that particular person holds so much respect in his eyes.
- Another fun activity is to have the teenager imitate his favorite TV personality. Here again focus on targeting the articulating problem that your teen faces.
For adults, speech therapy is much more serious, but it too has its fun moments. In most cases if someone is preparing to give a speech or holds a public position, articulation exercises can give the needed edge. They also help in building confidence.
- The first thing that an adult needs to do is get a hold of some famous speeches and study the orators. It is important to notice the pauses and the words that are stressed upon for the right impact.
- Speaking in front of the mirror, recording your speech, and listening to it later are other activities for improving speech. The main aim here is to notice the flaws in one's speech and take corrective action.
Articulation exercises can be made quite entertaining if a little creativity is used. By now, you must have realized that these exercises can be used by everyone to improve and perfect their phonetic abilities.