Trust. Flexibility. Fun.
Trust between the child, parent, and clinician is important, especially with a speech sound disorder that often leaves kiddos feeling frustrated and discouraged. I want a child to know I hold up to what I say. For example, if I say, 1 more, I really mean 1 more. I won’t sneak extra trials in because children pick up on it quickly. With trust comes willingness, with willingness, comes progress.
Flexibility is crucial in the treatment of CAS, as there is not a one size fits all approach to the treatment of CAS. Treatment of CAS is focused on the individual child’s needs. While I vary treatment techniques to accommodate each child, the principles of motor learning are always present, as is a multisensory approach to learning. Target selection is extremely important to me. Not only is target selection important to appropriate treatment of CAS, but to a greater extent, overall functional communication. I work to create targets, based on sound and syllable shape repertoire, that are both functional and motivating to the child.
I use the child’s interests to plan sessions that are both fun and functional. Typically, sessions incorporate movement-based activities, sensory play, or crafts to keep a child motivated. Having fun creates a better experience for children. I enjoy thinking outside of the box to create fun treatment activities. Sometimes, the most unlikely activities help facilitate quality speech productions.
Since graduate school, I have had a passion for treating individuals with CAS. Over the years, I continue to follow the evolution of research available in diagnosing and treating CAS. I enjoy the webinars available through Apraxia Kids. I participated in and volunteered at several Apraxia Kids walks. Unfortunately, these are no longer local to me. I believe it is important to spread awareness to the community, particularly to other professionals and parents. It would be an honor to help organize an Apraxia Kids walk in my area, as the closest walk is over 1.5 hours away from my local community. I plan to pursue the advanced DTTC workshop, as well as the Apraxia Kids Boot Camp Intensive Workshop.
When appropriate, I encourage parents to stay in the room during our treatment sessions. Regardless of whether the parent stays in the room for the treatment session, the last few minutes of every session are designated for parent education. During this time, I recap our session and provide any suggestions for home. I value parent input in creating a functional target selection. I ask parents to provide information regarding the child’s favorite toys, activities, foods, family, friends, and pets. This information will be paired with the child’s sound and syllable repertoire to create our target selection.
For a child with an established AAC system, I incorporate it into our sessions. Specifically, I use AAC as part of a multisensory approach for the child while practicing our target selection. For our preverbal children, no time is wasted before making the recommendation to implement AAC, typically starting with low tech AAC such as sign language or PECS. While the ultimate goal is to have a child become verbal, a functional communication system as a means to express oneself is essential.