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Early Intervention Speech Therapy

Revisiting Apraxia

Published October 22, 2009 5:36 PM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling

Every few days or so, I read through recent comments posted throughout the blog and attempt to address the questions that have been raised by our readers. One of the most pressing issues that is frequently raised by parents reading the blog is apraxia.

When I review the questions and concerns asked by parents, I can hear the intense concern and worry in their messages. It seems as though most of these parents have taken steps to secure early intervention services for their child and may even be paying for some private therapy; however most feel that what their child is receiving is simply not enough. They are concerned that progress is not fast enough and time is slipping away. These fears are legitimate and widespread.

Back in January of this year I interviewed Sharon Gretz, MEd. She is the founder and current executive director of the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA). She also is the parent of a child diagnosed with apraxia of speech.  

Our interview occurred over 2 posts published on January 27th and January 30th 2009. In this interview we discussed in detail many topics including the following information:

  • Sharon's personal story regarding her son and his diagnosis of severe apraxia at age 3
  • The "multi-sensory" techniques that worked for her son, as well as the additional and numerous strategies that were implemented into his dynamic therapy plan.
  • Advice for parents hearing the "apraxia" diagnosis for the first time: where to turn, where to begin.
  • The wonderful resources the CASANA Web site offers families and therapists.

If you are a parent whose child has either received the "apraxia" diagnosis or you suspect that this may be what is underlying your child's speech delay, please refer back to my two-part interview with Sharon Gretz, MEd from January, 2009 and her information which can be found at the CASANA Web site.

Also please USE the interview to help guide discussions you may need to have with both parents and therapists. The interview was designed to act as an informational resource for therapists treating apraxia and parents who have children diagnosed with the disorder.

6 comments

My son is 12 y/o with severe apraxia of speech. I trusted the one and only therapist who was giving him therapy since he was 3y/o.

Now she tells me my son is not ever going to show progress. I'm sad because she gave up on him. If she doesn't believe he will ever show progress, I just wasted 12 years? I wish I would of seen this comming...I hoped and believed everytime things were getting better when in fact she didn't even give him a chance...

He is a loving kid and although he gets frustrated when he can't say the words he NEVER STOPS TRYING!!

Lucy September 15, 2010 3:19 AM
Wslaco TX

Are there any PROMPT cliunics in the western NY area near Buffalo

Alice frank August 7, 2010 12:15 PM
hamburg NY

Repetitions is vital with children who are suspected having either apraxia or dyspraxia.  These children are frustrated and their parents are very concerned and anxious.  It is important to provide education to parents so they can seek help for their child early on.  PROMPT is one effective tool used to treat these children.  Thanks for bringing apraxia out into the open and sharing your thoughts.

Lori Melnitsky, SLP - Prompt Certified SLP, Private Practice November 26, 2009 9:39 AM
Plainview NY

I am an SLP who has worked with numerous young to older children with oral apraxia of speech.  One thing that has helped all the children is learning the sounds and names of the alphabet.  When little ones enter school they seem to do better when learning beginning sounds and phonics.  The apraxia does not go away, but the total immersion in repetition with visual support (letters all over the Kindergarten room, etc) allows continual feedback and has seemed, at times, to be more supportive for these children in learning to develop articulatory control of the sounds.  A young man, 13, who is in the autism spectrum, last Feb., gained articulatory control over CVC (eg-bed) words and is now using single words with better intelligibility than ever and is beginning to combine two words as he realizes folks are understanding him.  

I have specialized in oral-motor treatment for infant through adult and use a variety of techniques that are included in PROMPT.  For children, however, it seems that a speech generated device that repeats words and learning how to read aloud are great supporters for the development of speech intelligibility.  Always use a visual system for requests, etc, to reduce your child's frustration and get you out of the guessing-the-word game.   Good luck..there is relief, eventually!

Susan B. Nachimson, , SpeechPathologist Private Practice November 12, 2009 8:35 PM
Garberville CA

I am a SLP who uses Prompt in therapy to treat children with apraxia. In my expierence many children do not qualify for speech when their receptive language skills are high. You need a very trained clinician to be able to use the right diagnostic tools needed to get these children services. Districts are looking at standardized tests scores very carefully. My sugestion is if you suspect your child may have apraxia is to get a Prompt consultation or evaluation. These reports are looked at and considered when determining eligibility.

Robin Pollak, Speech Path - SLP, Private contractor October 30, 2009 6:06 PM
Jeicho NY

I am a SLP who uses Prompt in therapy to treat children with apraxia. In my expierence many children do not qualify for speech when their receptive language skills are high. You need a very trained clinician tobe able to use the right diagnostic tools needed to get these children services. Districts are looking at standardized tests scores very carefully. My sugestion if you suspect your child may have apraxia is to get a Prompt consultation or evaluation. These reports are looked at considered when determining eligibility.

Robin Pollak, Speech Path - SLP, Private contractor October 30, 2009 6:04 PM
Jeicho NY

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About this Blog


    Stephanie Bruno Dowling, M.S. CCC-SLP
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Early Intervention in Delaware County, PA
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