Articulation Therapy: The z-sound
Articulation Therapy : The ‘z’ sound
Some people call ‘z’ the buzzing sound because it sounds like the bees buzzing. This sound is developed later than other sounds, around the age of 4. The child masters around the age of 8. Some children may have trouble producing this sound beyond eight years of age. It is completely okay! Some sounds are challenging due to the complex tongue and mouth positions it takes to produce them. However, it is highly recommended to consult a speech-language pathologist to help remediate it.
Every sound is peculiar in its own way. Take the sound ‘K’, for example. Your tongue moves backwards to touch the roof of your mouth while you lower your jaw. Similarly, the sound “z” uses the same mouth position as ‘s’. However, the ‘z’ is voiced, whereas the ‘s’ is unvoiced. To produce the ‘z’ sound, place the tip of your tongue behind your teeth, and raise it to the roof of your mouth without touching it. Now, try pushing the air between your tongue and the roof of the mouth while vibrating your vocal folds.
There are many ways to teach a child to produce the ‘z’ sound:
- Show the child how to produce it, teach him the correct placement of the tongue and point your index finger towards your teeth. Tell him to spread his teeth out while producing the sound. Remember that your child should be watching your mouth when you teach him. Produce the sound two to three times and then ask him to say it with you. Repeat this activity five to six times until he can produce the ‘z’ accurately and independently
- In addition to visual cues, you can make him feel the vibrations of your vocal folds by placing the palm of his hand on the centre of your neck. Kids love this sensation, and it reminds them that they are saying the sound correctly. It will also help your child understand the difference between ‘s’ and ‘z’ sound. These two activities can be done simultaneously as it would teach him how the ‘z’ looks, feels and sounds!
- Now, your child has to practice the sound. Show him this picture and make him touch each image of the mouth while he produces the sound.
- As your child masters the individual sound. Try to make simple syllables by adding a vowel to the sound – “zoo”, “zaa”, and “zee”. With time and practice, your little one will be able to produce the ‘z’ sound in words and sentences without any difficulty.
If you notice that your child is finding it difficult to differentiate between ‘s’ and ‘z’. You can help him out by playing a game where he must stack the blocks only when he hears the ‘z’ and put balls in the box when he hears the ‘s’. Your child might not be able to do it on the first try. But you can teach him by making him feel the vibrations on the neck while producing ‘z’ and making him feel a still neck when producing the sound ‘s’
I hope this article was helpful for you. Don’t you worry! With adequate practice and time, your child will be able to produce this buzzing sound with no difficulty.