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- 2020 E. Hebron Parkway, 150
- Therapy & Beyond
I immediately determine what motivates the child and use that information to pair with the child and find the best way to get them talking/making sounds. Many times, children on the autism spectrum do not make communicative sounds but their vocal abilities can be observed in stereotype, which may change the environment (e.g. child loves to hear echoes, so therapy is conducted in the stairwell). Some people benefit from limited distractions and others require a lot of input to maintain motivation. Therapy is always catered to the specific needs and personality, meaning therapy might be done at a table or on a scooter. Depending on the stage of therapy, choosing environments for generalization (home, community, around peers/family). Targets are always functional and chosen collectively, with parents, siblings, caregivers, or others in the child’s life (e.g. OT, PT, ABA, music therapy, etc.) Target sizes always match the child’s abilities and begin by working with what the child can do independently. The sessions themselves are always fun, engaging and involve a lot of attention to making the child feel confident. The apraxia approaches stem from the tenets of Dynamic Temporal and Tactile Cueing (DTTC) and include the use of multi-sensory cueing and feedback using Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Target (PROMPT), and repetition of speech movements. Other strategies include applied behavior analysis, token economy system, and feedback on other aspects that may affect quality of therapy. Parents reports and feedback are reviewed and homework is discussed.
As a newcomer to the community in the time of a national health crisis, it has been challenging to participate in conferences and community events. In the future, I plan to be a dynamic and growing clinician, taking advantage of all new research that is published, participating if I can in any way, and promoting awareness in the community, especially to other SLPs. I was once extremely intimidated by working with individuals who have apraxia and because of the information I have found in the speech community, more children will become verbal. I am forever grateful to apraxia-kids.org
Parent's, siblings, family members and others who are active participants in the child's life play a critical role in skill generalization. It is important to provide consistent communication and access to therapy sessions. I encourage parents to assist in goal choices/target words, participate in or view sessions and ask questions. Apraxia-specific therapy is different from traditional speech with it’s specific “do’s” (e.g. lot’s of practice with encouraging and specific feedback) and “don’ts” (e.g. segmenting words, targeting too many words, modeling productions with exaggerated movements). It is so important that all members of the team are on the same page and have the opportunity to celebrate all of the small victories. The child’s confidence is so important and therefore support from everyone, especially parents, is crucial.
I am fluent in PECS, sign language, LAMP, Proloquo, Sonoflex, TouchChat, Tobii/Dynavox systems (including eye gaze) and promote/target total communication. AAC is absolutely necessary to ensure the persons wants/needs are being met. Also, AAC is traditionally thought of for communication but can be critical in ensuring a child's language development is not being held up by his/her speech.