In the previous post, I outlined the contrastive phonology treatment plan my colleague & I developed for a 5;5 year old boy with ADHD, a moderate-severe SSD, and suspected DLD.
Now, I’d like to share the treatment set for contrasting plural & singular third person forms. Remember, this child also has an SSD that affects his ability to produce word-final consonant clusters in addition to omitting the plural or 3rd person singular -s in 100% of opportunities (see the data set in the previous post). I clarified with the SLP that the child speaks Mainstream American English before setting up these contrasts. They would not be appropriate for children who speak non-mainstream dialects which don’t use the third person singular marker.
So, I developed a set of treatment cards that utilize verbs which end in a vowel in 3rd person plural and which also are intransitive (don’t require an object). The pairs are designed to be presented together like minimal pair sound contrasts. Here they are:
The full set is available for download here. When paired with the phonological treatments sets, working on these contrasts should create a lot of disruption in the child’s system. That’s what you want because disruption = change = progress.
Like the phonology treatment sets, I would not be looking for perfection for the first few sessions. He hasn’t acquired s/z as monophonological markers yet; I wouldn’t expect him to immediate acquire them as morphosyntactic markers either! I would expect him to be able to, “make it sound different.”
Here’s how I would write the short- & long-term goals to address the omission of the third person singular marker. I tend to write my goals with ‘wiggle room’ built in:
STG: [Child’s name] will correctly produce the obligatory grammatical markers of English with 70% accuracy imitatively across 2 consecutive sessions as measured by tracking data.
LTG: [Child’s name] will correctly produce the obligatory grammatical markers of English with 90% accuracy spontaneously across 3 consecutive sessions as measured by tracking data.
If you decide to try these contrasts in your clinical practice, please stay in touch and let me know how they work for you.