In a previous article, I listed components of a research-based, effective therapy program for childhood apraxia of speech. Let these components guide you in how to help a child with speech apraxia. You will find these components listed in a song/poem below. This article will focus on the components, “Keep them (sounds) slow with intonation and rhythmic flow.” For additional information about childhood apraxia of speech, you can go to the website of Apraxia Kids here.
How to help a child with speech apraxia – Components of Speech Therapy for Childhood Apraxia
(Can be sung to the tune, Rockin’ Robin)
Keep sounds moving.
Keep them slow with
Intonation and rhythmic flow.
Core words, Cues to
Feel and see.
Repetition, Chains of three.
Keep them slow.
In general, extending sounds and slowing them down will help a child get ready for the next sound he or she is trying to say. For example, when a child wants to say, “me,” extend the “mmmm” to give your child time to motor plan the movements needed to say “ee.” Because you give your child time, he doesn’t need to be in a hurry to say what he wants to say. Children with apraxia have difficulty combining speech sounds and blending them together. They often separate the sounds and syllables making the rfhythm of their speech jerky and hesitant. A child may also omit sounds in words. Slowing down the rate of speech will help children blend the sounds together and decrease the sound omissions.
Slow your own speaking rate and explore music as a tool
Slowing down your own rate of speech can be helpful. Keep the flow of your speech normal, but just speak a bit more slowly. This gives your child the comfort of knowing that there is no pressure to communicate more rapidly. When working with children with apraxia, I have found that using songs can naturally slow down the rate and give kids time to verbalize. Let’s explore that a bit more.
With intonation and rhythmic flow.
There are many ways to create a joy for vocalizing, but, as I mentioned in the last paragraph, one excellent tool to help a child with speech apraxia is music. Specific songs are huge in how to help a child with speech apraxia. Practicing intonation and rhythm will help a child understand the normal flow of speech. Our Talk It Rock It songs can be helpful but also enjoyable for speech and language practice. Our songs focus on sound blending from vowels and vowel combinations to consonant-vowels (CV), CVCV structures, words, and phrases. You can listen to song samples, see the visuals that illustrate the songs, and watch a video that describes our songs. Go to our songs shopping page to find out more at https://www.talkitrockit.com/product-category/songs/. Our songs are great, but there are also many other ways to incorporate music into your day.
Suggestions on how to help a child with speech apraxia using music. Here are some additional suggestions.
- Sing your own songs throughout the day.
More than anything, I encourage you to sing frequently. When you go to the park, drive in the car, go to the store, tuck your child in at night, eat together, etc., sing about what you are doing. Sing at the level your child can understand and handle verbally. When a child is actively involved in music, it activates his whole brain.
- When you sing songs, sing them in a manner that is within your child’s verbal ability.
You may want to sing vowel sounds, consonant-vowels like “ba ba ba,” or “na na na” to typical children’s songs like The Wheels on the Bus. Any tune will do. We have used this concept of vowels and consonant-vowel practice in many of our songs. Some examples are The New BMW, Tongue Tip Time,(Imitation Exploration Set), I Dressed Myself (Rock & Roll with a Language Goal Set), Singing a Song (Rock & Roll with a Language Goal Set), the Vowels Song and countless other songs in Drills for Sounds Set. I wrote these songs specifically to help children with speech and language delays, children with CAS, and other speech disorders. You could also try our instrumental-only tracks on our song sets.
- Make noises!
Your child may benefit from hearing you make noises like sneezing, coughing, and kissing as modeled in our song, Noisy, Noisy, Noisy (Imitation Exploration Set). Animal noise songs, Puppy, Puppy, Puppy, Animals (Imitation Exploration Set), Yee Haw (Imitation Exploration Set), or many of the animal sound songs in our Animals Movin’ and Groovin’ Set are also great to practice. You could use our Animal Faces to encourage your child to imitate animal sounds. Watch a video and read descriptions of the animal faces in our shopping page.
Always remember that music is excellent for speech and language therapy with children with CAS.