Setting Articulation Goals!


I can’t believe the school season is almost here already, and has probably already started for some of you! To celebrate new classes, students, and goals I thought I’d share my “Articulation Goal Tracker” form with all of you. This form can be a beneficial way for both parents and Speech-Language Pathologists to set and track goals for articulation therapy.

Setting Goals:

The first step in any articulation program is always deciding where to begin. Speech-Language Pathologists usually use standardized tests such as the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation or other articulation tests/screeners to determine what sounds our students/clients struggle with. Then we consider what sounds are most stimulable (what sounds we can elicit from the student/client without much difficulty), and any patterns we may see among the speech errors that were produced when setting our goals. After I have tested a student and determined what sounds the student needs to work on I simply write the sounds at the top my Articulation Goal Tracker sheet and I am ready to begin therapy.

Parents can usually tell right off what sounds their child struggles with. However, sometimes it may be more difficult for a parent to know which sound to begin with. When counseling parents on what sounds to start practicing first I like to have them circle the sounds on the bottom left corner of the Articulation Goal Tracker that their child does not produce correctly. Then we use their answers as a guide to determine speech goals for their child. The sounds appear on my goal sheet as “sounds” not phonemes to make it easier for a parent to identify the sounds their child is not saying correctly. See below:


I explain that the sounds in the first line are the earliest developing sounds and if they have circled any sounds in this line that is usually the best place to start. Then we proceed to write any sounds circled from the first line at the top of the Articulation Goal Tracker as sounds to target first.

Likewise, sounds on the second line are sounds that come in later and are sounds we usually target after all the sounds on the first line have been mastered. Then we write on our Articulation Goal Tracker any sounds that have been circled on this line to be practiced after we have mastered sounds on the first line.

Finally, sounds on the last line are sounds that are generally developed and mastered at an older age than the sounds on the first two lines. Therefore, we usually target these sounds after sounds on the first two lines have been mastered. Any sounds circled on this line we write on our Articulation Goal Tracker to be targeted after we have mastered the sounds from the first two lines.

Please note that this is intended to be used as a guide for selecting speech goals and that it is by no means the rule. Speech Pathologists look at other factors besides just age of acquisition to determine what sounds to target first. If you have any questions or concerns about selecting goals for your child please refer to a certified Speech-Language Pathologist to guide you through setting your articulation goals.

Tracking Goals:

Once I have outlined my speech goals for a student I use my articulation goal tracking sheet to track my student’s progress and to keep track of what goals I want to work on next.

Below is an example of my Articulation Goal Tracker. I have created a fictitious student named Ella Johnson to provide you an example of how I use this sheet to both set and track goals for articulation therapy.

If you have questions about how to practice the goals I have written in the left column (isolation, initial syllables, initial words, initial sentences, initial stories etc.) please refer to my post “The Process of Articulation Therapy” to help guide you.

I have also included my Articulation Therapy Log (see below) that I use alongside the Articulation Goal Tracker. I use the Articulation Therapy Log to keep track of what I work on in every articulation therapy session. As reflected in the example below I write the date of the therapy session, the articulation goal that is being targeted and how the child performed on that goal during that session. I also include anything else that might be significant like what I sent for homework or what therapy techniques were helpful during that session. When a student passes an articulation goal I write it in the Articulation Therapy Log and then I record the date on the Articulation Goal Tracker.

You can download the Articulation Goal Tracker and Articulation Therapy Log on the worksheets page, by clicking on the top bar labeled “Articulation Data Collection Forms”. These two sheets together have made setting articulation goals and tracking their progress a lot easier for me. I hope they make setting and tracking goals easier for you too so we can all focus on the important stuff, helping our children speak clearly. Thanks for reading! I hope you all have a happy and productive school year!



Heidi - Mommy Speech Therapy Heidi Hanks, M.S.CCC-SLP has been a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist since 2000. She graduated from Utah State University where she completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She began her career in early intervention and eventually started her own private practice where she has worked primarily with pre-K through school age kids. She is the founder of Little Bee Speech, and is currently developing apps for speech and language. Heidi lives in Utah with her husband and 4 children.


36 Responses to “Setting Articulation Goals!”

  1. Jennifer Haws says:

    Your website is amazing! It has helped me so much in helping my son. I’m so glad I came across it and I’m so glad you took the time to make it! Thank you!!!!

    Jen

  2. Lindsay says:

    Those are AMAZING thank you!

  3. Ashley says:

    These sheets are great! I’m a CFY just starting out and these will be invaluable to me as I was unsure how I was going to track progress and data with my artic kids. Do you have something like this for language kiddos?
    I came into this particular school into a room with ancient materials. Your worksheets will prove to be fantastic as I await my new materials! Thank you!

  4. Heidi says:

    Ashley,

    I’m glad these sheets will be helpful to you. I hope to get around to sharing some of my language goal sheets as well one day. In the meantime good luck with your new clients.

  5. What a great tool and article. Thank you! I’ve featured you on my blog today at todaystreat.com and will be adding you to my blog roll. Keep up the great work.

  6. libbie cole says:

    Love your website…but every time I go to print a /th/ word list….more than half of the words come out in some asian language and not English. Thought you might want to get that fixed. thanks for the great resource……

  7. Kafi says:

    Hi Heidi,
    LOVE LOVE LOVE what you are doing!!! Keep it up.

    I would love to send you some info on my new line called cardticulation. You can see what I do at http://www.cardticulation.com

    Thanks,

    Kafi

  8. Heidi says:

    Thanks for letting me know about that issue with the /th/ word lists. I’m not able to duplicate it on my end. Everything seems to print ok. I will do some more testing… but if anyone else is having this same issue, or other issues with the worksheets please let me know. Thanks!

  9. Laura says:

    This website is fabulous. As a parent paying for speech therapy for my son’s articulation disorder, any extra help I can get is greatly appreciated.

  10. Melissa says:

    I just wanted to take a minute to tell you how great your site is! As a beginning clinician with my first artic client, your tips and worksheets were really helpful in helping me establish teaching strategies and therapy targets. Keep up the good work, thank you so much!

  11. Marianne Cashman says:

    Hi
    I love your speech goal tracker sheet! Do you think there is any way you could add sounds in phrases in there somewhere? I generally move from words to carrier phrases/phrases and that is not on your tracker and would be really helpful! Just a thought!

  12. Heidi says:

    Marianne,

    I appreciate your suggestion. The reason I didn’t include phrases on my Articulation Goal Tracker as a bridge between words and sentences is because in my articulation program I move directly from words to “Rotating Sentences.” The repetition of the rotating sentences allows children to memorize the short sentence while practicing the target sound on multiple words. For example, “Put the _________ in the pink purse. In this example they get to practice the initial /p/ sound four times (when the target word is counted as well). ” They also have a really good time laughing about the sentences when they don’t make sense. For example, “Put the pig in the pink purse.” Rotating sentences have proven to be a very successful bridge from words to unique and more complex sentences as well as stories. In the rare case I have a child that has difficulty with the length of the rotating sentences I simply modify the sentence for that child until it is achievable for them. If you have any more questions or suggestions please don’t hesitate to ask. Best of luck with all you are doing!

    Heidi

  13. Varsha says:

    Thanks for a very helpful post….

  14. Milica says:

    Hi,

    It’s heartwarming to see the effort & energy you invest in producing this online resource for free use.
    Thankyou. I’ve already been using some of the final sounds sheets in games. The pictures & clear font are great.
    Ed. pages are great for mums like me trying to assist their wee one – especially without having a early childhood /speechy background.
    Thanks a bunch.
    Milica

  15. My son has problems speaking when he is excited. If he is calm and we are at home I can understand him. When we get out around other kids his age, he is very difficult to understand. We homeschool so he is at home most of the time. Do you have any advice?

  16. Kristen Miller says:

    Hi Heidi,

    Has anyone else had difficulties accessing your articulation worksheets? I used to be able to but in the last 2-3 weeks everytime I’ve tried I just have a new tab open that keeps on spinning forever never stopping or bring me to the page…..

    Many thanks for all your hardwork it is much appreciated….

  17. Heidi says:

    Hi Kristen,

    Thanks for letting me know about this. I’m not sure if you’re still having issues accessing the worksheets page? If so, a couple of things you could do, is make sure your browser is up to date. Sometimes quitting the browser all together then re-opening it can clear things out and the html page will open. It could have also been the amount of traffic it was receiving at the time you tried to open it. It gets the most traffic off all the pages on my site, so sometimes it can be a bit slow to load depending on when it’s accessed. I will double check to make sure everything is working well. If anyone else is having issues with the worksheets page loading, please let me know!

  18. Heidi says:

    Hi Melinda,

    You may want to video tape him in one of these situations, then play it back for him. Often times kids are surprised to find out they can’t even understand their own speech. This gives you a nice platform to teach him why it is important to slow down and take time to say each word so his friends can understand him. Then try practicing at home. If it helps you can introduce the idea of, “Turtle talk.” Explain to him that when he talks he needs to talk slowly like a turtle and say each sound. Reward him for his attempts, and next time he is with his friends and he starts to speed up you can gently remind him to use his turtle talk. Hope this helps!

  19. Thanks for sharing, this is a great article! Keep them coming. I really like the speech goal tracker sheet.

  20. Amy says:

    Fantastic Site!! I can not express to you how grateful I am for sharing all this information! It is a serious answer to a pray! Thank you from the bottom of heart!! I am just eating up all of the wonderful information you have given! Thank you. I’ll be honest..don’t have an ipad…just might got get one tomorrow to get your app! Amazing!

    P.S. Are you still teaching? Are you accepting new clients?

  21. Heidi says:

    Thank you Amy! I’m so happy that you are enjoying my site! I am accepting new clients at the moment. I will email you this week!

  22. As an S/L P with over 30 years of experience, and a homeschool mom of six that tries to help other homeschoolers as often as possible (they so often fall between the cracks and parents are unaware of delays and deviations or what to do about them), I just wanted to extend my appreciation and kudos to you for what you are doing on your posts and website. What a blessing you must be to so many, with the free advice and resources you take the time to explain. Keep up the positive attitude and the “servant spirit” you obviously have–it can help change lives one (phoneme!) at a time! I will refer others to your website in the future. God bless you.

  23. Heidi says:

    Thank you Diana! You sound like you are even busier than I am. Six kids! Wow! I am struggling to find a balance in my life with just four. All the best to you as well!

  24. Jane says:

    Hello! I just came across this site and love it! I’m a new speech-language pathologist who is trying to find the best way things “work” for me; you’ve got so much that works! :) I have never seen anything like your articulation goal tracker, but I am going to try it out! It looks like a great tool to help me stay on track and show progress at the same time.

  25. Heidi says:

    Thanks Jane. Best of luck!!

  26. Mike says:

    How did you come up with this list of 20 phonemes / sounds to focus on? There are a lot more phonemes in the English language so I am trying to understand why you picked this particular group of phonemes. Is this based on some research / some finding?

    I would love to learn more. Thanks,

    Mike

  27. Heidi says:

    Hi Mike,

    The 22 phonemes represented in this list are all the phonemes with the exception of the vowels and the “zh” phoneme as in “garage” in the English language. It is more typical for kids to struggle with the consonant sounds than with the vowels which is why I have only included those phonemes. I did not include the “zh” phoneme because it occurs so rarely I didn’t feel it was necessary to include. Hope this helps.

  28. prasanjit says:

    really this site is just a gift for all the mothers and for the new slp thanks a lot heidi

  29. Cindy says:

    I need help! My son is in the first grade, and some people are having trouble understanding him. He has all of his speech sounds, but he doesn’t open his mouth when he talks. What should I do? Should I get the speech therapist to screen him? Would he qualify for speech?

  30. Heidi says:

    Hi Cindy,

    I would recommend you have the speech therapist screen him. He may qualify for services depending on how low his intelligibility (how well he is understood by others) is. If he doesn’t qualify for services I would ask the speech therapist to give you suggestions on what you could work on with him at home to help improve his speech intelligibility.

    Keep us posted on how things go.

    Heidi

  31. chitra sundar says:

    Hi Heidi,

    Thanks a lot for this wonderful blog. I am a mother of a 2years and 8 months old son with down syndrome residing in India. For a person who never know how difficult speech production is which i am learning from my son for which i am stuggling and working very hard with him. This site is real eye opener. It has answers for all my questions which i have been asking my ST for long.
    My son is able to produce the first line sounds as mentioned in your process of articulation therapy. following are the trouble that i encounter with him.
    1. able to produce sound in isolation.
    2. for few sounds like b p and m , produces few words but not complete. for eg, he can say ball, only the ba sound is heard and not the ll sound. where as he is able to produce l sound in isloation.
    3. for most of the words he speaks, he is finding it difficult to articulate his lips with tongue together. for eg, when we pronounce apple, we have a wide open the mouth and finish with the tounge touching the palate. but he says it a appa, where he uses his lip along. There are few words ‘thatha’ which means grandpa in our local language he is able to use his tongue completely.
    4. For few words like car, where he is yet to acheive the sound c, he replaces the c sound for p and says par, pup for cup.
    5. How should i work with him so that he produces the words sounds in complete.

    I do not follow any prescribed method for speech. keep talking to him always. read and play a lot. use my judgement which sound is easier to pronouce i work with that sound.

    thanks and expecting your valuable suggestions.

    regards
    chitra.

  32. Heidi says:

    Hi Chitra,

    The best course of action would be to consult the speech therapist you are working with. Have them explain to you what sounds your son says in error or what phonological processes (like deleting the final sounds off of words) he may be exhibiting. Have them show you their treatment plan so you both understand what his speech goals are and what you can do at home to help achieve those goals.

    If for some reason or another you are unable to get with your speech therapist to get those questions answered I would recommend you give your son the Articulation Screener yourself to help you clearly identify which sounds he does and does not say in words. Then I want you to print of the Articulation Goal Tracker (the link is in this post) and circle all the sounds your son is omitting in words or saying incorrectly. Then write those sounds across the top of the goal tracker. Then I want you to look at the Speech Sounds Development chart to determine which sounds he should be saying correctly for his age. For example the /l/ sound is not typically mastered by the majority of children at the end of words until about 5 years old. So I wouldn’t be as concerned about the /l/ sound at the end of “ball.” If however he is leaving sounds like /b/, /p/, /m/ off the end of words I would probably start working on those.

    In fact the phonological process of Final Consonant Deletion or leaving sounds off of the end of words is a pretty normal speech pattern for kids under the age of 3. After you have looked at the sounds he needs help with and it looks like they are sounds he should be saying correctly for his age you can print some worksheets off of my worksheets page for home practice. Or you may be interested in “Articulation Station” for the iPad. It is a really fun interactive way to work on speech.

    But my number 1 recommendation is consult your speech therapist to see what more you can be doing.

    All the best,
    Heidi

  33. chitra sundar says:

    hi heidi,

    thanks a lot for ur detailed reply. Of course, i am on ST twrice a week. Since more speech happens at home, i have already printed worksheet and started working on them.

    regards
    chitra.

  34. Heidi says:

    That’s awesome! It’s proactive mothers like you that make all the difference.

  35. Chitra sundar says:

    Hi it is exactly a year before I have written to you. Not much progress in his speech. But developed lot of sounds like la, ka,na tha etc., using his tongue. But not able to use the sound and make words. My ST says he is working and not much progress is seen. In the recent past, tries to repeat the words that he can say others fills the with some sounds. If I ask him to say give the ball., he would say ball and others use ba or ka and finish the sentence. Can u give any suggestion on helping on words with the sounds. Doing a lot of oral motor exercise, which has helped in using the tongue.

    Thank u.
    Chitra.

  36. April says:

    Hi Chitra,
    I’m not familiar with your story, but it sounds like you have made some progress if he is starting to develop sounds. The next step will be to try to get those sounds into syllables (consonant-vowel syllables like: ba, ka, da, dee, bee, etc; vowel-consonant syllables like: ab, ak, ad, etc; and consonant-vowel-consonant syllables like bab, kab, dad, dab, etc.) They may sound like nonsense words, but just using his developing sound repertoire in syllables will help him transition into words. It may feel like not a lot of progress is being made, but if he has severe articulation problems and language development problems, please recognize that progress might just look a little slower then you expect. Keep practicing with him and working with his speech therapist. Good luck!