In general, if a child had not corrected an “r” sound distortion after six months in therapy the therapy should stop. In articulation therapy a speech/language pathologist identifies the sounds a child needs to correct and teaches the child how to make the sound. Practice tasks are implemented to stabilize the new pattern of sounds at school and carryover tasks are sent home to help generalize the use of those new sounds. In most instances new sounds can and should be stabilized within a three to six month period.
Certain situations may create the need for a longer therapeutic plan. Children may enter therapy with multiple sound errors and need to work on one or two at a time. Other children may have difficulty finding the correct place and manner to produce the sound or they may not be able to hear the difference between their sound and the target sound. Sometimes a child enters therapy for improving sound productions only and along the way other challenges may be unearthed. Voicing issues and/or language problems may be identified. A physiologic basis for sound difficulty may be found. A child may be too young or immature to respond well to the therapeutic environment or just might not want to. Any and all factors need to be taken into consideration when determining the need for a period of therapy or a waiting period before it begins.
Unless sound practice occurs in all situations and on a daily basis consistently, stable change will not occur. Unless both the parents and the child are willing and motivated to participate in a plan to correct speech sound productions, extended therapy time is possible. In order to access desired outcome as quickly as possible you, the parents, can help develop and implement the home practice and encourage your child to reach their sound potential. I love when I graduate a child! I know the parents and the child are proud as well. Good luck.