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- 150 West State Route 92
- Kearney R-I School District
I often begin with a small number target words focusing on a variety of syllable shapes. I attempt to make the target words very motivating and functional (mamma, dada, eat, no, bye, bubby, done, etc). I often use the DTTC model for cuing my student with their target words. We say them together, I use hand signals and/or tactile cues; we fade to a model; we fade to spontaneous productions. When target word are beginning to become mastered, we push those into short phrases or we increase the complexity a bit (move from “mamma” to “mommy” then to “my mommy”). As students gain more control over their motor movements, we continue to introduce new words and new phrases. Using high frequency, functional, highly motivating words means the child gets a lot of practice throughout his/her school day and at home, not just in therapy. I typically start my student out with shorter, more frequent sessions while working on producing as many trials as we can within that time using motivating toys or short game turns between trials.
I am newly involved in the apraxia community. I am currently a Volunteer Outreach Coordinator in the state of Missouri for the Apraxia Kids organization and I am excited to be part of this new role of education, advocacy, and support for parents and professionals who are impacted by childhood apraxia of speech. I have recently joined the Kansas City Childhood Apraxia of Speech Facebook Support Group, and I am proud to be walking in the Kansas City Walk for Apraxia as well as assisting the walk coordinator with anything I can.
As a school-based speech-language pathologist, I try to be as collaborative and transparent as possible while working with each-and-every student on my caseload. This is because, parents typically do not attend therapy sessions and consequently they need to know the ins-and-outs of what their child is working on so they can carry-over those skills at home. I always incorporate meaningful, motivating vocabulary in my students target words and I work with the parent to collect a list of high frequency meaningful words. If those words are complex, we work together to shorten them to something the child can achieve. I send pictures and word lists home with parents and meet with them (typically after school) on an as needed basis to discuss therapy techniques. If the child is working with an AAC device, I make sure the parent is trained on the devices and make sure the child is using the device at school and at home.
Often they very young children I work with exhibit receptive language skills and cognitive skills that are within the normal range. However, expressive language is severely impaired secondary to the apraxia diagnosis. I have worked with children, families, and teachers to make a picture based communication book with anywhere from 4-16 pictures per page that the child could point to to express their wants and needs in the classroom or home setting in order to be more included in class discussions and to reduce the frustration that a lack of expressive skills can create. I have also worked with several students who use an iPad app, anywhere from a very simple, My First AAC, to the very complex Proloquo2Go. Some students have used the AAC for a short time, while others (often those with co-occurring disorders) use the AAC device as a primary source of communication throughout their school day and at home for an extended time. While I work with these students on AAC devices, we are also incorporating high frequency, need to know words specific to the child as therapy targets. Each child is different and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to AAC