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- 1900 Hillcrest Road
- Deer Speech Therapy
Every child is beautiful and unique in their own way. I celebrate individualized differences and adapt my therapy strategies to meet each child's needs. My initial priorities change depending on the child's age. If the child is within the early intervention age (birth - 3 years) with a suspected diagnosis, then I feel parent training and education is most important. Parent need to understand how to encourage speech exploration in fun ways that can be incorporated into naturally occurring routines. It is important for parents to understand they shouldn't put demands or pressure on their child to talk, but allow opportunities for them to explore sounds in a fun way. With older children, I feel gaining rapport is necessary to help establish a trusting and safe relationship. Speech is hard for many children with CAS so they need to feel supported. I'll often make sure the child has the opportunity to do something they feel good and successful with before asking them to do something harder. I also feel it is important for children to understand why they are receiving therapy. When I asked one girl why I came, she would point to her mouth. Motivation is also a key component for success. Activities need to be chosen based upon the child's attention, interest and abilities. I use a variety of therapy strategies depending on each child's needs. In the younger ones, I use a play-based and routine-based approach to work on developing sounds. Once words begin to develop we can use integral stimulation and encourage the child to look and imitate a verbal model. Dynamic Temporal and Tactile Curing (DTTC) strategies are also used. Some children benefit with tactile facilitation and PROMPT cues are provided.
I went to the Apraxia Kids Conference in 2017. I am on Apraxia Kids Facebook groups and I created my own Facebook community specifically for speech language pathologists to help further their knowledge of CAS. I post on the groups and I help support families as much as I can. I am passionate about continuing education and I'm always seeing out learning more to further develop my clinical skills. I'm trained in PROMPT, and I attend study groups led by a PROMPT instructor when available. I'm always seeking new knowledge and finding ways to share it with others.
Family involvement is key. A child can have speech therapy 1-2 hours a week, but the family can decide how many hours of intervention they provide on a weekly basis. They can learn strategies and incorporate them throughout the week. This is especially important with younger children who learn language best during naturally occurring routines. Every family culture is different and parents learn in a variety of ways. I often ask the parents how they learn best, explain how their involvement in therapy is important and together on a system that works for their family. Some parents are more involved in the process and I coach them through using strategies. Other parents learn better through observing and then taking a turn. Other parents prefer to watch. Some parents are not able to be involved in the sessions due to work schedules. Sometimes I will adjust my schedule to come on a weekend so other family members can be involved. When that isn't possible, sometimes I will model using the strategy on a video and the other caretaker can view it at another time. I am adjustable to each family's needs and learning styles.
Your child will not be motivated to talk less if we add in an alternative form of communication. If anything, it will help decrease frustrations and help your child as they develop speech. Then as your child develops speech, we can use the pictures or signs to help increase sentence length.There are benefits and drawbacks for different alternative communication system. The use of sign/language and gestures is helpful because this form of communication is always available. You can even use it in the bath. The draw back is that not everyone knows what the signs mean. You would need to teach all of the communication partners what the child's signs mean.Using pictures is generally understood by everyone. If a brand new communication partner was shown a picture of drink / I want drink, they would know right away what the child wants. The use of pictures can also support literacy development. The draw back is that sometimes pictures can be lost, not available, hard to find, time consuming to make, etc. I have read through the PECS manual, and understand this teaching method in using pictures to communicate. Higher tech options are also available such as different communication apps on the iPAD. I have used higher tech-options with some of my clients in the past, however, this isn't an area of speciality of mine at the current moment. When a child requires more direct instruction with AAC, then I consult with a colleague of mine to help with the planning and assessment in this area.