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- 2016 E. Saint James St.
- Beth Deiter, Ltd.
As with all the children I treat, I provide individualized care within the child's functional environment (home, daycare) with strong communication with the parents/family. In the best-case scenarios, the children see therapy as "play." I incorporate many opportunities for repetition of a target skill while providing feedback during an activity that the child already enjoys.
My ultimate goal is to help this child become an effective communicator; and therefore, while completely intelligible verbal speech is the long-term goal, in the short-term, the child may need other options for communicative success. This can include augmentative/alternative communication systems, word approximations, and cuing systems to avoid communicative frustration.
I tend to recommend more intensive therapy with this population of children, usually 1-2x/week for the best results. I determine goals based on the child's ability level and individual stimulability (not always based on typical developmental norms), in order to increase functional communication as much as possible. And, I believe strongly in parent involvement and home practice for best outcomes.
I have been a member of some social media networking groups for the Apraxia community for several years. I am aware of several scholarships/grants and fundraising walks in our neighborhood that I actively support and promote with the families in which I work.
Although not specific to the Apraxia community, I am also the administrator of a Facebook Support Group in my area with over 1,100 members called "Early Intervention Support for Parents in NW Suburban Chicago." This has proved to be a strong source of support for families looking to connect with others in our community.
In many cases, parents are present and participating in full therapy sessions. I often have parents take turns during games/activities, involving them in the therapy session as much as possible. This way, they are able to ask questions, learn strategies, and practice home recommendations in real-time. However, if parents aren't present, they are provided with communication about each session in the form of a daily note/email and always provided with suggestions for home practice.
I very frequently use low-tech AAC with many of the kids with whom I work. I use a low-tech picture schedule with just about every child on my caseload as well as simple visual cues/prompts. I have a simple sign language vocabulary and am trained in the implementation of the structured PECS program, either of which I will incorporate if the child's functional language use is impaired. Minimizing frustration and meeting the child's needs are of primary importance. With that said, I would benefit from additional coursework in the implementation of more widely-available and higher-tech AAC options, especially using the iPAD.