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Working Together
Part 1: Understanding Apraxia

Rogers Bridge » Working Together, Part 1: Understanding Apraxia

Apraxia of speech, also known as childhood apraxia of speech or developmental apraxia of speech, is a motor speech disorder that affects a child's ability to plan and coordinate the movements needed for speech. This condition can make it challenging for children to speak clearly and effectively, which can lead to frustration and social isolation. Thankfully, speech therapy is an effective treatment for apraxia of speech.

Speech therapy for apraxia of speech takes a multifaceted approach, tailored to each child's unique needs. 



Here are some common components of speech therapy for apraxia of speech:

  1. Oral-motor exercises: These exercises are designed to strengthen and coordinate the muscles involved in speech. They may include activities like blowing bubbles, blowing into a straw, or practicing tongue and lip movements.

  2. Sound practice: Children with apraxia of speech often struggle with producing certain sounds or sound sequences. Speech therapy involves structured and repetitive practice of these sounds, gradually progressing to more complex words and phrases.

  3. Language development: Apraxia of speech can also affect a child's language development, including vocabulary and grammar. Speech therapy may address these areas alongside speech production.

  4. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC): In severe cases, AAC devices such as communication boards or electronic devices may be used to supplement or replace speech.

  5. Parent/caregiver involvement: Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in supporting their child's progress in speech therapy. They may participate in therapy sessions or receive strategies to help their child practice speech and language skills at home.

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) evaluate and conduct speech therapy for apraxia of speech. The frequency and duration of therapy will vary depending on the severity of the child's condition and their individual needs.

It's important to note that speech therapy for apraxia of speech requires time and ongoing support. However, with patience, dedication, and the right support, many children with apraxia of speech can make significant progress in their speech and language skills.

In addition to speech therapy, there are other strategies that can be helpful for children with apraxia of speech:

  1. Creating a supportive environment: Children with apraxia of speech may become frustrated or discouraged due to their speaking difficulties. It's crucial to foster a positive and supportive environment, emphasizing progress and celebrating successes along the way.

  2. Encouraging communication: Even if a child struggles with speech, there are alternative ways they can communicate. Sign language, AAC devices, pictures, gestures, pointing, or other nonverbal forms of communication can help the child feel understood and build their confidence.

Speech therapy for apraxia of speech is a long-term process, as developing and improving the necessary skills takes time. The frequency and duration of therapy sessions depend on the severity of the child's condition and their individual needs. The involvement of parents and caregivers is also vital for the success of speech therapy, as they can support and reinforce the child's progress outside of therapy sessions.

Childhood apraxia of speech can significantly affect a child's communication abilities. However, with the assistance of a trained speech-language pathologist and supportive caregivers, children with apraxia of speech can make significant progress in their speech abilities. Speech therapy is a crucial component of the treatment for apraxia of speech and can help children reach their full communication potential.

If you are concerned about your child’s language or sound development, please give us a call. We offer free phone consultations to help determine if a speech language evaluation is appropriate for your child.

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"My daughter has been seeing Ms Jessie for about four years, since She was in the Babies Can’t Wait program. Ms Jessie has been kind, friendly, kid-centered, flexible, and has never given up on my daughter. To be able to serve a strongly oral averse child with health complexities for several years, to look into many different options so that my daughter would be okay with being in the same room where there was food, touch, smell, lick and so forth, to take a training course that would give her more tools to work with children like mine is the most incredible experience. My daughter is now feeding orally without the need for a feeding tube for  about eight months. Ms Jessie continues to help in increasing her food options with a fun, consistent and encouraging approach. We love having her as my daughter’s speech and feeding therapist. – Ana

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