Learning to …Whisper

December 4, 2013

Robert and I were reading another story about a boy, Carlos, and his robot named Mosh.  The story came from the third grade level Spectrum Reading,  I bought this workbook years ago, but introduced it to Robert this summer. I think that Robert likes stories about Mosh, who although full of best intentions, often gets into trouble.  Mosh, not unlike Robert, takes verbal directions literally and extends their use beyond the range of their applicability.  Maybe Robert sees himself in Mosh. Maybe not.

In the story, Carlos whispers a secret to his sister.  I asked Robert to whisper as well.  Robert couldn’t!

Although Robert reads very softly, he is not able to whisper.  It was a surprise.  We practiced with voiceless consonants. Then we moved to voiceless consonants followed by vowels.  The whisper disappeared.

I knew that Robert cannot change intonation of his speech.  We are still working on increasing the volume of his utterances, on extending the length of vowels, on spacing syllables by connecting their pronunciation with movement of hand along imaginary shapes (triangle for three syllable words, square for four).  However, I did not realize that Robert has difficulties whispering.

I  goofed and  puffed  in a rather playful mood.  Robert was amused and tried hard to join me in the whispering. He couldn’t. Only one word came twice in its whispered form, “Got” .

I wonder if Robert’s  lack of ability to whisper is connected to the invalid prosody of his speech.

If it is, then teaching whispering might be an important first step in addressing other aspects of prosody.  If not, then teaching whispering might be just …fun

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