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- 3024 N. Ashland Ave. #57043
- York Bilingual Speech Services
Most of the children on my caseload for speech sound and motor speech disorders are ages 2.5 to 6, so play is a crucial component to what I do. I have found that including opportunities for fine and gross motor movement as well as sensory experiences to be motivating for my young learners. Many simple play activities, like throwing bean bags, using water beads and playdoh, or going ‘fishing’ can contain myriad opportunities for mass practice. It has been natural to embed a cueing hierarchy along with tactile cues influenced by PROMPT into these activities. I also talk with the family about their priorities to help us establish more specific goals for communication at home (e.g. the child’s own name, names of caregiver, favorite toys and activities, etc.). The children with whom I work have had varying needs with AAC, ranging from more high-tech voice output devices to core boards to use of simple signs to supplement verbal speech. I aim to help children communicate as effectively as possible via a variety of communication modes as needed.
I started my career as an SLP in schools, where my caseload was highly variable and I ended up with several students with suspected or diagnosed CAS. This led to me doing additional reading, and I was especially grateful for a relatively early opportunity I had to see Dr. Gildersleeve-Neumann speak. My caseload has included many children who are primary Spanish-speaking or who are bilingual in English or Spanish, so additional information about current evidence on CAS in Spanish-speaking populations were crucial. I then moved on to attend PROMPT once in private practice. I continue to follow various professionals on their blogs, websites, as well as follow Apraxia Kids for information about events and webinars. I also like to check in on FB communities, even as just a listener, to see how parents are doing.
In my practice, I am able to see children in their natural environments, including homes, schools, and daycares. For children I see at home, their parents are present for our sessions and participate at their comfort levels. This means I am able to talk through the goals of certain activities, ask for input on target words, model tactile cues, and provide suggestions for home practice. For the clients I see at school and daycare, parent communication has looked different on individual case bases. I have taken videos with parental permission, left a therapy journal, sent home notes, and provided email updates. This also helps me know how children are carrying over their skills across contexts.
Functional communication is everything. Over the years, I have had worked with children utilizing a wide array of communication options. These have ranged from the ‘low tech,’ with signs and core boards, to ‘high tech’ comprehensive AAC devices. I tend to implement more low tech options independently, in conjunction with the family. For higher tech devices, I like to refer my patients to centers or with professionals who have access to a wide array of equipment, so that we can select an option that gives a child independence but room for growth. I then work with the family, vendor, and school (if applicable), to help with programming and carryover. I have seen first-hand the power that AAC gives to a child, in terms of communicating wants and needs, but also likes, dislikes, and humor.