Gretchen and I had speech therapy yesterday and it was her best day yet. She was very receptive and worked really hard. I can see that therapy and my work at home with her is helping, slowly, but helping. She has new words like Buzz, Bee, and Baby.
Our therapist is Chris. Chris mentioned something about Apraxia and I finally asked if this is a sort-of diagnosis. She said at first she didn't want to give Gretchen a label until she knew her better and had the opportunity to work with her but after this many sessions she now believes that Gretchen has Apraxia. What does this mean? Much more therapy and work at home, that's for sure!
What treatments are available for children with apraxia of speech?
Research shows the children with CAS have more success when they receive frequent (3-5 times per week) and intensive treatment. As the child improves, they may need treatment less often. (I'll be finding out if more therapy is needed at this point. We currently go 1x week.)To improve speech, the child must practice speech. However, getting feedback from a number of senses, such as tactile "touch" cues and visual cues (e.g., watching him/herself in the mirror) as well as auditory feedback, is often helpful. With this multi-sensory feedback, the child can more readily repeat syllables, words, sentences and longer utterances to improve muscle coordination and sequencing for speech.
The focus of intervention for CAS is on improving the planning, sequencing, and coordination of muscle movements for speech production.
Some clients may be taught to use sign language if the apraxia makes speaking very difficult (sign language is working well here but we don't want to foster sign language if she is capable of saying a word, i.e. juice.) Once speech production is improved, the need for these systems may lessen, but they can be used to support speech or move the child more quickly to higher levels of language complexity.
Practice at home is very important. Families will often be given assignments to help the child progress and allow the child to use new strategies outside of the treatment room, and to assure optimal progress in therapy.
One of the most important things for the family to remember is that treatment of apraxia of speech takes time and commitment. Children with CAS need a supportive environment that helps them feel successful with communication.
----------So, that's Gretchen in a nut shell right now....