This is the post that’s going to get me in trouble with crafters everywhere.
But I JUST have to speak to my mind about therapy for Childhood Apraxia of Speech.
I’m going to preface this by saying that I get that therapy can be slow going and boring. I get that kids get sick of drills. I see these kids too. But that repetition and drilling is essential. It’s what’s needed.
When you have that child in your room for 30 minutes, please, PLEASE don’t waste 9 minutes precious minutes cutting, coloring and pasting.
Those 9 minutes are critical. They make such a difference.
Copy and pasted straight from the ASHA website is this statement:
“Motor speech disorders require repetitive planning, programming, and production practice; therefore, intensive and individualized treatment of childhood apraxia is often necessary.”
So if you’re sitting there ready this thinking oopsy daisy, I need to get more intensive in my speech room, then here are some tips on what you can do:
Break up activities into short 5 minute hits. It’s less boring if you have 5-6 short activities planned and then kids don’t have time to moan and groan as they are moving on to the next thing. I remember back in my school SLP days doing 5 minute therapy with kids and it was just high intensity, hit them hard and move them on and kids actually went with it because they don’t have time to get disinterested.
If you are going the craft route – which I DO use by the way – manage how you can still craft with time efficiency. I always enlist my parents to cut or I might cut while the kid is packing up one activity or drilling along. We might do 10 drills then we color one picture. Or we take turns to color because let’s face it, we’re waaaay faster. Sometimes I save the coloring for home practice and we stick with black and white in the therapy room. Roll that play dough while they’re pointing and then do your smash mats. You glue and they stick it on the paper. Basically, still do the things you’re doing, but multi-task so that there is more talking going on.
Choose resources that encourage multiple repetitions. This way you can’t help BUT get those repetitions and drill practice in. Pacing boards have been my hero therapy item lately because it’s easy to tap your finger along or use dabbers and still get repetitions in. What’s more, I use them interspersed throughout my therapy “Quick, let’s choose another 2 boards to do” and it’s over in 30 seconds but we got our practice in.
When I look at some apraxia resources and see that there are 10 different images on a page – I immediately cross my fingers and HOPE that the SLP doesn’t just practice 10 different ‘b’ words in CVC and think that they’ve “done” apraxia therapy. I’m hoping that they use that page as a springboard to get 5 – no – 10 repetitions per word on that page! This 100 Hole Punches resource from Bluebird Speech gets those repetitions plus the kids are doing something with their hands. I made these Mini Apraxia Cards for the purpose of ensuring that drills are happening. It’s your basic picture repeated 10 times – but you can add your SLP magic into making it fun, I just want you to drill!!!
Adapt therapy ideas from articulation. I love this post from The Dabbling Speechie about to get high repetitions, totally great for this caseload. I actually went out to buy this rainbow colored delight abacus from IKEA after reading the post. And yes, you see 10 beads and 10 colors, the SLP’s dream of getting 100 reps! The Peachie Speechie and Ashley Rossi have tons of 100 trials for Articulation that I use for CAS – just broken down into sets of 10 – so don’t get hung up on the name of the resource and think that you can’t apply it to apraxia.
Get hands on. I know kids get bored. So bring our those dabbers, the poms poms, Lego and blocks to put on top of cards. Smash play-doh, use dry-erase markers and pick up magic counters. Start collecting mini toys like Jenna Rayburn suggests. Just use them WITH resources that will get you the high number of drills needed to do this therapy right.
I also wrote a post about stealing your OT’s toys for speech because you will find lots of great 5 minute activities adaptable for the speech room. And finally, as a huge fan of ‘feeding’ games, you have to check out Ms Gardenia’s Speech Room series because get this… she has some editable versions and others targeting early sounds and syllable structures. What a great way to customize and choose target words and phrases. Totally love!
Okay SLPs, if you need any Pinterest inspo about apraxia, then click to follow my Apraxia board. It’s a mixture of blog posts, YouTube clips and resources to change things up a bit.
And just promise me that you’ll try to get more talking and less sticking in your session. That you will maximize time as best as you can, and that you will really think about how you can change things up to add that intensity to your activities.