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- 705 Riley Hospital Drive, Ste 0860
- Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health
Building a strong rapport with children and their families is always my focus at the onset of therapy. I believe that success in therapy is highly dependent on the relationship between the child and the therapist. Children must feel comfortable, supported and understood in order for them to be willing to participate in tasks that are challenging for them. Additionally, one of my first goals for nearly every child with CAS I work with is for them to improve their production of words that are functional, meaningful and motivating to them. This may include family member names, favorite toys/activities, core vocabulary/phrases (e.g., "I want", "My turn", "help", etc.), "power" words/phrases (e.g., "no", "mine", "stop", etc.) and exclamatory phrases (e.g., "Yes!", "Wow", "Uh-oh", "Oh no!"). When children begin to improve their production of some of the words and phrases that are most relevant to their life, they quickly reap the benefits and this initial success often leads to increased participation in therapy down the road. Within treatment, I incorporate strategies including successive approximations (Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol) and multi-sensory input in the form of visual and tactile cueing. I aim for a high number of repetitions of targets within each session.
I have attended walks to support CAS in Indianapolis. I have worked with other SLPs who also have knowledge of CAS. I attend courses on CAS when possible and read current literature on CAS.
Parents and primary caregivers are encouraged to attend every session with their child. This provides me with time to educate parents on the diagnosis, treatment strategies, outcomes, therapy plan, etc. It also allows the parents to be an active part in their child's therapy. I find that parents are best able to carryover practice of speech goals into the home when they are actively involved in therapy sessions. Within therapy sessions, I will coach parents on how to work on the goals that are specific to their child and give them opportunities to practice this within the session so that they can feel confident in implementing therapy techniques at home. Each session includes time for parents to express what things are going well during home practice and what things are more difficult so that I can tailor the session to best meet their needs.
I have used high tech AAC for children with severe CAS in order to help them functionally communicate with all listeners. I have used low tech AAC (most often picture symbols or boards) with many children when they begin therapy initially to help them communicate basic/wants needs and also feel more comfortable and confident knowing that they have a way that they can be understood and have their needs met. As a child's speech production skills improve, use of AAC is faded accordingly.