SLP Categories: Recognized by Apraxia Kids for Advanced Training and Expertise in Childhood Apraxia of Speech and Apraxia Kids Speech-language Pathologist Directory Member
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- Box 209 35 Stone Church Road
- Amy O'Connell SLP Services
My approach to the treatment of CAS is both multi-sensory and based heavily in the principles of motor learning. Borrowing from multiple approaches to the treatment of CAS, I design my therapy approach to best meet the needs of the client. With experience in Dynamic Tactile and Temporal cueing (DTTC), Rapid Syllable Transition Training (ReST) program, the Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol (K-SLP), and PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets) cueing techniques, I am able to build an intervention program that will support each child in the achievement of his/her therapy goals.
With strong foundations in functional intervention, my focus is on designing therapeutic programs that address both the child’s motor programming needs while simultaneously building his/her language and communication skills. Understanding how and why a child communicates and identifying where communicative barriers may exist are key considerations in my intervention planning. With parental support, we will develop goals that are not only motorically based but also meaningful and relevant to the child.
For children requiring additional support, my practice is rich with assessment and intervention programs designed to assess and target a range of speech, language, literacy, and social communication needs. My families are able to access comprehensive literacy and language assessments followed by programs developed to enhance oral and written language development, vocabulary skills, literacy development, phonological awareness skills, and social communication functioning.
In addition to being an SLP for the past 18 years, I have been mom to a child with CAS for the past 10. In this time, my involvement with the Apraxia Community has grown beyond clinical intervention to include aspects of advocacy, education, and awareness building. Since attending a workshop presented by Dave Hammer in 2015, I have become increasingly aware of the Apraxia Community and have sought to expand my involvement both personally and professionally. As a family, we attend our local Walk for Apraxia yearly and are proud to add new members to our team.
Professionally, I have had the privilege of attending multiple Apraxia Kids National Conferences and most recently completed the training portion of the first ever Canadian Apraxia Kids Intensive Bootcamp. I am excited to continue share my personal and professional experience with CAS through continued advocacy efforts, family and professional education, and community involvement.
My clinical practice is based heavily in parental involvement and competency building. Whether I am working with a child with CAS or a child with a reading delay, my goal is to help equip the family with specific skills and strategies that they can use to support, extend, and maintain skill development beyond the therapy session.
While there are times when it is neither ideal nor feasible, I encourage family participation in therapy sessions as much as possible. Whether it be an immediate family member, an extended family member, a neighbor or a teacher, I love including support circles in my intervention.
Given the amount of therapeutic support that children with CAS require, optimizing parent confidence and competence is a primary way of ensuring ongoing, practical, and context-varied practice between therapy sessions. Working with the family, I want to find ways to make practice part of what the family is already doing, rather than something more to add to the daily to-do list.
Too often, the ability of a child with CAS to independently communicate a message is tied to the context of their message being known by their communication partner. While this works for talking about the “here and now”, it does not allow the child with CAS to independently talk about past or future events, thoughts, feelings, ideas, and interests. This can significantly limit a child with CAS’ ability to socialize and share in the language of their peers.
To help support the language and communicative development of my clients, I strongly encourage the use of both low-tech and high-tech options to help bridge the gap between “what I want to say” and “what I am able to say right now”. As an AAC-mama, I have experience using the Touch Chat and Aacorn AAC apps. Professionally I have supported clients using Snap+Core, Lamp Words for Life, and Proloquo 2 Go. For our very young clients, I work with parents to find ways to support communication using lower-tech visual supports such as picture boards, flip books, and activity “menus”.
If there is a way to communicate a message in an alternative way, we will work to find it. At the same time, we will work hard to build the motor skills so that the child can express that same message verbally.