What is the TargetPalate?
The TargetPalate is a customized, acrylic mouthpiece that helps users learn how to position their tongue in order to produce speech sounds with the appropriate pronunciation. The tongue is the single most important tool in pronunciation, so the TargetPalate uses small, strategically positioned tactile bumps that remind users where to place their tongue to articulate specific sounds. Through this touch-and-feel learning method called tactile stimulation, the tongue is trained to take the proper positions for specific sounds! When used in conjunction with the Ütz app, the TargetPalate reinforces habits of tongue positioning to aid in accent reduction! Take the guesswork out of accent modification through these visual and tactile feedback tools!
How does the TargetPalate work?
It is designed for all levels of speech complexity: sounds in isolation, single syllables, complex/multisyllabic words, short phrases, and conversational speech. We recommend using the TargetPalate to practice producing the target sound in isolation first, then work up to more complex words and phrases! The TargetPalate is ideal for working on the following speech sounds: /r/, /l/, /d/, /t/, /n/, /s/, and /z/ The All-in-One Palate includes tactile bumps that help you orient your tongue to the parts of the mouth that you need to touch for a variety of different sounds. Because it is not optimized for one specific sound, it may require a bit more guidance to create the target sounds The TargetPalate is made from durable acrylic designed to last! This custom mouthpiece fits precisely to the user’s mouth, and its clear acrylic makes it undetectable to others, so you can practice anytime, anywhere!
Preparing to use your TargetPalate:
Before you begin using your TargetPalate, practice simply inserting, wearing and removing it until you feel comfortable with it. Inserting your TargetPalate: Use two hands when you insert your TargetPalate into your mouth. Put your thumbs halfway between the front and back teeth and secure your Palate on the top of the sides using your index finger. When your palate is in your mouth, secure your Palate in place by pushing up on the middle of both sides using your thumbs. Removing your TargetPalate: Use one or two fingers of both hands to remove your TargetPalate. Lift your lips with a finger or by grinning in order to reach the top of your TargetPalate. Pull down on each side of the TargetPalate. Wearing and speaking with your TargetPalate: In order to adjust to the feeling of wearing your TargetPalate, practice wearing it for increasing increments of time. Begin with a brief time, roughly 30 seconds, practice saying familiar words with it in. Increase the length of time you wear your TargetPalate until you can wear it for 10-15 minutes. Being able to wear it for extended periods of time will give you the opportunity to practice and use the tactile feedback during conversations and connected speech
How to use your TargetPalate:
When you begin using your TargetPalate, select the sound that you want to work on and focus on producing that sound in isolation with your tongue positioned over these tactile bumps. Refer to our Sound Guide for detailed descriptions and steps of how to produce each specific palatal sound. Some sounds, like “S”, “R”, and “M”, can be produced in isolation, which means you can make and hold the sound by itself. Some sounds, like “T”, and “D”, cannot be made without making an accompanying sound, as in “Tuh” or “Duh.” Practice sounds in isolation as long as needed or until you feel comfortable pronouncing the sound with and without the TargetPalate. Once you feel comfortable pronouncing the sound and can produce it accurately and consistently, practice the sound in single syllable words, such as “To”, “Tie”, “At”, and “It”. This will help you build confidence as you are not just making sounds; you are correctly speaking meaningful words! At first, it can help to focus on simply putting the sounds in the correct order (“At” = “A” then “T”). You can then slowly begin to pronounce the sounds together as a single word. Practice single syllable words until you are comfortable and can pronounce the sounds consistently with and without your TargetPalate. Repeat this process of practice and progress with the other more complex forms of speech: complex words with more than 1 syllable, phrases, and then normal speech. One great thing about the TargetPalate is that you can speak clearly when wearing it, so you can practice all levels of speech while still having access to tactile feedback. When used in conjunction with the Utz app, the TargetPalate reinforces habits of tongue positioning for correct sound production and accent reduction. Additional sample words are provided in the sound guides, but you can be creative and create your own lists of words and phrases.
Proven to Work!
Research with the TargetPalate has proven successful for a variety of speech sounds. Similar to the /r/ sound in English, the rolling “RR” sound in Spanish is one of the most complex sounds to produce. With use of the TargetPalate, patients in our Guatemala Clinic have been able to acquire the rolling “RR” sound within 3 to 6 sessions. Equivalent results have been recorded for all other primary TargetPalate speech sounds.