Ask A Therapist: /h/ for /k/

Hi TalkTools,

I have a 6 year old male student who produces /h/ for /k/. He appears to have placement, and is able to produce /g/. However, we have not been successful in nearly a year of therapy with eliciting /k/. His voice is hoarse during conversational speech. His mother is not interested in visiting an Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor. Do you have any suggestions or theories? Thank you.


Hi Angela,

Based on what you have written he just is not associating tongue elevation with his “k” sound and instead is producing the ‘h.” I would work on “g” repetitively and throw in a whispered “k” in a sequence of sounds (having him repeat). I would try to get him in the right position over and over and over again and then switch quickly to the “k” and see if that works. Work on teaching “k” as the quiet sound.

Other exercises you can try would be horn blowing, bubble blowing, and straw drinking. This will help to reinforce the back of tongue retraction that is important for that speech sound. Even though it seems he already has the placement with the “g,” hopefully the repetition will help get him transitioned to the “k.”

I hope these ideas help. Please let me know how it goes and write back with any other questions.

Have a great day.



Elizabeth Smithson, MSP, CCC-SLP is a Speech-Language Pathologist who has over 10 years of professional experience working with infants, children, adolescents and adults. She earned her Master of Speech Pathology at the University of South Carolina. Liz is also a Level 5 TalkTools® Trained Therapist. She has received specialized training in Oral Placement Therapy, Speech, Feeding, Apraxia, Sensory Processing Disorders, and PROMPT©. Liz works with clients with a wide range of disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  She works through her own private practice Elizabeth Smithson Therapy, LLC in the home setting and in the TalkTools® office in Charleston, SC.

Talktool admin 14 Jun 16

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