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- 739 N. Easton Rd. #202
My overall treatment approach for kids with CAS involves establishing functional approximations of words the child can use immediately in his or her daily life. I start with what the child is currently able to produce and build useful communication from there. For example, if the child is only able to produce vowels, I provide cues (auditory, visual and tactile) to shape those vowels into words. "Uh" can become "up" if the child can achieve lip closure and "o" can become "open" if he is stimulable for imitating a VCV syllable shape. In a given session, I like to start with a "motor phoneme warm-up" during which I elicit massed practice of target words or syllables. For the remainder of the time, I continue to elicit as many productions of targets as possible within the context of a motivating activity or game. The child's personality determines what approximations I will accept and what type of feedback I provide.
I am currently involved in a PROMPT study group during which I meet with fellow SLPs to practice skills learned at PROMPT workshops, discuss current research/best practices, and problem-solve difficult cases.
Parents of younger children are often present in therapy sessions. Some actively participate in therapy activities or games and others simply observe, depending on the child's behavior, needs, etc. Even if parents are not able to participate in therapy sessions, I like them to learn the syllable shapes, movement patterns and lexicon on which we are working. I give lists of current verbal targets and demonstrate types of models and cures. It is critical for parents to know what works in therapy sessions so they can use the same methods at home and in the community, where the child's communicative success is most important.
When CAS co-occurs with autism, I often establish functional communication through PECS. I also work with several children who have voice-output communication devices that are useful for continued language development (vocabulary and syntax) while motor speech practice focuses on improving their verbal productions. Though use of an AAC system is not often the primary focus of my therapy for a child with CAS, I respond to and validate all communicative functions expressed via AAC. Goals addressing the use of AAC are a part of a child's therapy plan when appropriate and agreed upon with the family.