Intensive treatment for persisting rhotic distortions: A case series

Jonathan L. Preston, Megan C. Leece

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: The study explored changes in accuracy of American English rhotics as a result of an intensive 1-week therapy program for adolescents and young adults with residual speech sound errors that had not resolved with previous therapy. Method: Four case reports are presented of individuals aged 13, 17, 21, and 22 years with residual/ɹ/ distortions. Each participant attended a 1-week intensive program consisting of pretreatment assessments, 14 hr of therapy, and posttreatment assessment. Treatment sessions included structured motor-based practice, ultrasound visual feedback of the tongue, and auditory speech perception training. To assess generalization, untreated words and sentences with rhotics were recorded before and after therapy; these were rated by listeners who were blind to when the recordings were taken. Results: All participants showed measurable and statistically significant improvement in speech sound accuracy. Averaged across the 4 participants, rhotic accuracy at the word level improved from 35% to 83%. At the sentence level, rhotic accuracy increased from 11% pretreatment to 66% posttreatment in 1 week. Conclusion: The promise of an intensive treatment program that includes motor-based practice, biofeedback, and auditory perception training is illustrated by the case presentations in which substantial improvements in speech sound accuracy were observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1066-1079
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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