My treatment sessions contain fun, multi-modality strategies and activities. I use a variety of methods to promote motor planning: Dynamic Temporal and Tactile Cueing(DTTC), Kaufman approach, PROMPT techniques, and Dave Hammer’s multi-sensory approach. Depending on the strengths and weaknesses of the child’s speech skills, I start with what they are successful with and build intelligible speech from there. We start slow with vowel productions, simple syllable shapes, and functional words. I always begin with a Core Vocabulary Book to highlight meaningful and functional words we can practice. We also practice power phrases (“yes/no, help, I want, I see, I need”) as soon as possible to decrease frustration. Once the child has more syllable shapes, we start combining those to produce meaningful words and phrases. Additionally, I use AAC devices and/or sign language to help give the child a mode of communication when verbal productions are challenging. In all, I build trust with the client and families, offering support and resources to understand a CAS diagnosis, and try to make something really challenging, fun and functional.
Since going to my first Apraxia Kids National Conference in 2013, I have been deeply involved with the Apraxia community. Not only have I attended the last 3 National Conferences and Apraxia Boot Camp, I have also provided the following continuing education seminars or blogs both locally and nationally:2004-2006- Columbus Speech & Hearing Center’s TALK parent program. Four times annually. Topic: Speech & Language Development and Disorders (including CAS).2013 - Apraxia Kids National Conference, Denver, CO. Attendee.2014- Presented 5 hours of the current evaluation and treatment techniques, and current research on Childhood Apraxia of Speech to staff and parents at Columbus Speech & Hearing Center.2014- ASHA Leader: November 13, 2014. ASHA Blog Guest Writer: Tales from Apraxia Boot Camp. 2015- Apraxia Kids National Conference, San Antonio Texas. Presentation with Dave Hammer, MA, CCC-SLP: Ideas To Action: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Conference Experience. 2016- Apraxia Kids National Conference, Chicago, IL. Parent Boot-Camp Presentation on Fun and Functional Therapy Materials and Activities. 2016- Completed a 1.5 hour Apraxia Kids-sponsored webinar on Refreshing Your Therapy Routine for Children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech. November 10, 2016.2017- Scheduled to present on March 31 at The OSLHA Convention in Columbus, OH. Topic: Evaluation and Treatment Techniques for Childhood Apraxia of Speech.I also consider myself a regional “Apraxia” expert in Columbus. During a typical week, I respond to 10+ emails, phone calls, or Facebook messages with either parents or clinicians asking questions about CAS. My current caseload is nearly all children with CAS.Finally, I also participate and raise money for our Central Ohio Walk for Apraxia. Each year, I have raised over $500 and build a team of clinicians and parents to attend the event.
The families of the clients I serve are an integral part of my therapy routine. Over 80% participate or observe each session. The parent learns the specific models I give their son/daughter in order to promote motor planning, and then the parent incorporates these goals into everyday routines (in the car, bath time, dinner time, etc.). If they are unable to observe, I send them a summary of the session via email and ask them to carryover certain goals at home. I also work on home carryover of sign language goals and AAC in the home environment. Finally, all of my families help brainstorm and develop measurable goals every 6 months. We have constant communication about what the speech focus should be and how to work on it every day.
I use a variety of AAC devices in my sessions. With some of my more severe cases, the students use an ACCENT device to verbalize and answer questions when they are unable to produce longer strings of sounds/words together. With some of my more verbal clients, we use picture icons to make choices or follow a therapy routine. We also use several Apps on my IPad (Proloquo2Go, Speech-EZ, MouthWorks, etc.) to promote speech production.I see AAC as a important tool in my toolbox. As the child progresses and improves, we quickly fade AAC use and cues so that the student can produce speech independently.