Every child is different, but first and foremost is the need for effective communication. I’ve had clients who need to expand use of signs for a time, or use other alternative methods to build expressive language while we work on speech. It is important to me that my clients language skills continue to grow and are not delayed because of speech delays. Intelligible speech takes time for children with CAS, but that is no reason to wait for effective communication.Improvement of speech motor skills is also a top priority for all of my clients with CAS. In order to improve motor speech, I believe in working on actual speech. I use principles of motor learning theory to guide much of my treatment. I also play off the child’s strengths while building more challenging and complex skills. For example, some children are strong visual learners and I find myself using more visual cues. If the child is more tactile, I find myself going back to more PROMPT or touch based cues.
Currently, I provide support to parents through a parent support group based in Utah. I serve as a peer reviewer as requested for webinars that Apraxia Kids provides. I also team with other instructors to provide an intensive training for school based SLP’s through Apraxia Kids. Previously, I’ve presented at the Apraxia Kids’s National conference, IMASH Conference, served as a guest lecturer to graduate students at the University of Utah and consulted with SLPs throughout Salt Lake City District. I have also served as a co-lead to develop the assessment and treatment protocols used by Primary Children’s Outpatient Rehab centers. I’ve supported the Apraxia Walks in Salt Lake by serving as a professional consultant as well as provided support and training to SLPs throughout the Salt Lake valley.
In any treatment approach, parent involvement is critical. I do require parents to be in the session so I can explain and demonstrate what home practice should look like. I also need parent expertise and information--(e.g. “our dog died and he’s having a hard time” or “she is really into my little pony right now”). This type of information shapes my treatment in ways that can’t be done without the parent. I explain homework strategies as well as consult with parents re: treatment targets. Parents have a wealth of information about the child’s history, motivation, communication needs, and what’s going on in daily life. I expect parents to be involved as partners and share this information with me as I share ways to enhance communication and information about speech/language development with them.