Speech and Language Development

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What is Apraxia? What Therapy will work?

Date: May 23, 2014 Author: Michele Dickson Categories: Speech and Language Development 1


I was speaking to a parent about topics she would like to see me talk about in my blogs.  So this blog is dedicated to her.

One area of speech and language that you hear many children being diagnosed with is Apraxia.  What is Apraxia? It is a motor speech disorder.  Children have problems saying sounds, syllables and words.  This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis.  The brain has problems planning to move the body parts needed for speech. (asha.org).

This means that the brain and mouth do not work together.  They are working, but not together the brain doesn’t send the message to the mouth to produce words.  Children with Apraxia need more intense therapy to meet their speech needs.

One therapy that has worked well with children with Apraxia is PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Targets).  This techniques uses lots of touch to the child’s articulators (such as; jaw, tongue, lips) which manually guide them through a targeted sound, word, phrase or sentence.

gabbingThe therapist stimulates the muscles thru touch to get the child to produce a sound.  Every movement is in a timed sequence. For example for the sound “ah” the therapist will take her thumb and place on child’s chin and pull down on chin to try and elicit “ah”.  This is a movement that does not happen on the first try but takes practice to get a child to elicit sounds. Remember the brain and mouth need to work together to get the muscles moving.

I also like to pair PROMPT therapy with pictures so the child is not only hearing sound but also getting a visual and tactile.  Its a multi modality approach.  The PROMPT workshop is a very intense conference for therapists and also offers advanced courses for therapists who want to become PROMPT certified.

Its Better Speech and Hearing Month so spread the word about communication awareness!!

If you have any topics that you would like to see please let me know. Would love to know your thoughts.

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1 Comments: "What is Apraxia? What Therapy will work?"

  1. Published by: Noel Date: May 29, 2014

    Good explanation. I wasn’t too sure of Apraxia. I always thought, its just child not able to speak.

    Wonder if you can make a blog post about various types of speech disorder issues and then tackle each of them in details in a separate blog post. For e.g. ASD kids that I see, some have the kind of apraxia. Some can not formulate the language, like they can make their needs known etc. but when it comes to complex language structure, they are stuck. To us, parents, we feel like they know what they want to say but can not say it out. Some kids have selectively mute i.e. they can use language but for some reason they do not speak as much they should. I don’t know if either of the above examples I mentioned are addressed by SLP but have seen SLPs working with such kids. Thanks in advance.