Monday, 23 January 2012

Apraxia: Making Speech Therapy Fun

My 4 year old son Buster has childhood apraxia of speech or ‘Dispraxia. Oral apraxia is a speech delay where there seems to be a difficulty in getting the correct signal from the brain to the mouth. I’ve written about our family history with apraxia here.

Buster has seen a speech therapist 3 times now and we have finally got past the diagnosis stage to the speech therapy stage. This is the beginning of a very long road......

Buster's speech therapist has been trying to teach him to say the ‘p’, ‘b’ and ‘m’ sounds. These sounds are made at he front of the mouth and require him to move his lips…something he doesn’t seem to be able to do very well or with accuracy. He makes most of his sounds with the back of his mouth (if you say the sounds ‘c’ and ‘g’ you will see what I mean).

It’s amazing how complex speech really is when you break it down to it’s component parts. Most of us, including me, just take it for granted and picked the sounds up when we were babies. However, Buster has to be taught each individual sound. It’s a little like learning to read, I didn’t realize how complicated it was until I tried to teach someone to do it!

Buster only has a speech therapy session once every 2 weeks, so it is vital that we practice his speech at home. He was given this book to complete by the speech therapist.



You can just imagine how utterly boring this is to an active and exuberant 4 year old!!

He soon refused point-black to have anything to do with repeating the same sound (that is difficult for him to say) 12 times over, be constantly corrected and reminded that he can’t say it, only to be rewarded with a tick!

I thought that maybe if I try and make his speech practice more exciting, he will cooperate and practice his sounds. So, to make speech therapy fun for Buster I made him a wall chart with some of the materials from the girls craft box (hence, the pink ribbon…) (you can see that I’m definitely not a craft blogger!!).



I laminated some cards that show him the correct sounds to make for visual cues. I also laminated some Ben10 pictures I found on a google image search to be used as a reward. I attached Velcro spots to the cards and Ben10 pictures.



I find the chart to be much more tactile and stimulating than the black & white photocopied pages of the book. So-far he really seems to enjoy using the chart. He gets to place the cards on the chart when he says the sounds correctly (or at least gives it a really good try). He really enjoys choosing a Ben10 sticker to put on his chart as a reward. He even spent some time today carrying his chart around with him and practicing his sounds on his own



I am determined to do whatever I can to help my little man communicate with the world. He really does have a sweet little personality that I really want the world to see. I don’t want the world to judge, label and categorize his personality and intelligence by the way his speech sounds.

Buster starts preschool this year……I am very, very worried for him and I am a little reluctant to let him go…I’ll keep you posted.....

I listed Busters speech practice as one of my goals for 2012 in this post for me and you with the Mother Experiment. I'm linking up with her me and you link to share the progress of my goals.

I am also linking up for the first time with a lovely blog I discovered, Austism Wonderland who is developing a wonderful community where everyday wonderful moments are celebrated with her 'the little things are a big deal link-up

and because it's Tuesday. I'm linking up with the lovely Jess from Diary of a SAHM for #IBOT









22 comments:

  1. Lovely to find you Sporty Mummy. What a fabulous job you are doing! I am a Speech Pathologist and I can very much relate to what hard work it is for children with dyspraxia/ childhood apraxia of speech. You are right in saying it will be a long road and anything you can do to make the journey more exciting will be very valuable.

    And, good on you for building on what your speech path has given you and making it work for your family, rather than just throwing in the towel

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    1. Hi Julie, Lovely to meet you! Thank you for your kind support and encouragement! Sometimes I don't know if I'm doing the right things...but I'm trying my best!

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  2. Oh, so touching. I've never heard of this before. You are doing wonderful with him. I am touched by the video and your blog.

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    1. Thank you so much Donna, It's been lovely to meet you!

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  3. As a Speechie I think you're doing a great job adapting it to what works for Buster. Making it fun and motivating for him is the key. Well Done and Good Luck to Buster.
    I'm sure he'll love preschool.

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    1. I know we've got a long way to go though! Thanks for your kind comment!

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  4. Wow, fantastic work Buster and you too Mum, you have done a great job of keeping it fun.

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    1. Thanks Jen, I'm not sure how long it will stay fun though...so-far, so-good!

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  5. Buster is very lucky to have such an understanding and dedicated mum. And fun too! Having fun when learning is so important to littlies. You're setting him up with some great foundations. Thanks for linking up.

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  6. Thanks! Sometimes I wish I could do more to help him...

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  7. You are a brilliant Mum - and motivator.
    Well done.
    It is amazing how complex supposedly simple skills actually are.
    :-)

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    1. Thanks Shar, for such a lovely comment!

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  8. Well done Hun, with you helping him, I know he will get there. It is a long frustrating battle for them so anything fun you can do makes a difference. We used to practise at the dinner table as well and we would all take turns so it wasn't just him. Games are also good, ones he can take a turn every second or third time he makes the right sound. Good luck with this, our Sam was one of the worst his therapist had treated and 4 years on you would never know. Persistence wins and love xxx

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    1. Thank you so much Sonia. Hearing about Sam really gives me hope that my boy will improve his speech too.
      Your support and kind words have been an inspiration..Thank you!

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  9. Fantastic post Nic! This is such a great idea.

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  10. good luck with everything. he is lucky to have you!

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    1. Thank you, I'm trying my best to help him...what else can a mum do??

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  11. So cute to see him get so very excited about it! You are on to a winner there! Also, wo says you're not a crafty blogger; nothing wring with that chart!

    I'll have to come back and read about aparaxia once I get through all the IBOT posts. I'm quite interested in these kinds of things.
    Thanks for linking up, as always! :)

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  12. Thanks Jess for your too kind comment about the chart ;) and thanks for hosting #IBOT!

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  13. I actually think there may be a craft blogger hiding in there somewhere! It sounds like you are on the right track with your son and things can only improve with all the hard work you are both doing. Good luck. :)

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    1. Thanks Misha...I think I better go and work on some chart embellishments then!!

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