A child with apraxia of speech knows what they want to say, but they may not be able to move their mouths in the ways necessary to produce the words.
Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) may be a rare disorder, but children with CAS require specialized treatment based on principles of motor learning. Traditional speech therapy may not be effective in helping kids with apraxia of speech.
For diagnosis, you should visit a licensed speech-language pathologist. After diagnosis, other than arranging for specialized speech therapy techniques for apraxia of speech, you can practice exercises and play games specially designed for the treatment of childhood Apraxia of speech.
Here are some of the best exercises, games, and activities that can help kids with childhood apraxia of speech –
Exercise #1 for Speech Apraxia: Pick a Sound of the Day
Children with apraxia of speech may not be able to make the same sound (consonant and vowels) in the same way each time. Picking a sound of the day can help them practice a particular sound and learn how to move the muscles to make that sound.
For example – if you pick a “b-sound” for the day. You can say “buh” at least 5 times with your child before you move on to words like “but,” “bus,” “bow,” “buy” and so on. Try to use and practice as many “b-sounds” you can think of on that day.
It is one of the many apraxia exercises for adults to do with children that is effective and interesting. You should note how frequently your child produces the sounds correctly to make new words.
Share your notes with the speech-language pathologist (SLP) or speech therapist during the next session to add to their observation.
Exercise #2 for Speech Apraxia: Read a Book with Your Youngster
Pick a few books for daily reading depending upon your child's age and interests. Some books exclusively focus on the use of specific sounds and words. You will find words like "boy," "bus," "cat," or "cow" repeated throughout the book.
Although it might seem boring to an adult, reading these short stories with your child who has CAS will help them focus on the accurate movements to produce the correct sounds.
Take out at least 30-minutes per day to read with your child. Encourage them to repeat the “sound of the day” from the stories they pick.
Exercise #3 for Speech Apraxia: Play Animal Sounds
What does the cow say? "Moo."
Encourage your child to repeat "moo" every time you ask this particular question. Repetition during activities and games for apraxia of speech should be a key point of speech therapy techniques for apraxia of speech at home.
Move on to other animal sounds like that of a dog (woof), cat (mew), and sheep (baa). You can use homemade sock puppets, picture cards, or iPad photos to play this game. Plush puppets can boost the learning of tactile learners.
You may also use dedicated apps that focus on specific target sounds during gameplay. You can also invest in animal-themed puzzles to repeat the target sounds as your child puts the puzzle pieces together.
Exercise #4 for Speech Apraxia: Use Interactive Flash Cards
You can find photos and flashcards for apraxia therapy and exercises. The best ones include around 1000 cards with cues for repeating target sounds, answering simple questions, completing rhymes, and repeating words/phrases.
You can help your children practice specific sounds, syllables, and words using flashcards or flashcard apps.
It can turn therapy and exercise for childhood apraxia of speech into a fun game or evening-time activity with the family. Just remember to be patient, positive, and supportive during playtime.
Exercise #5 for Speech Apraxia: Crafting With Your Kids
Crafting can be a creative outlet and childhood apraxia of speech activity for parents and children.
For example - during Christmas, you can make tree ornaments of various shapes and sizes with your child. You can ask them to repeat the name of each shape while crafting.
During Halloween, you can make spooky decorations with your child. Ask them to repeat the names of different objects related to Halloween that include specific target sounds.
You can also choose a coloring book for children that gives you the opportunity to name different objects, shapes, animals, fruits, and vegetables.
Make sure you repeat each target sound multiple times with your child for optimal practice.
Exercise #6 for Speech Apraxia: Matching Games
You can use your flashcards or creations from craft time to play matching games with your child. It is a simple yet efficient tool every speech therapist uses during therapy.
You can use games for apraxia of speech to reach different therapy goals, such as practicing a speech sound, describing objects, fluency, and WH questions.
For example, if your child is practicing a particular speech sound with the SLP, you can help them find cards with that specific speech sound. If they are at a sentence level, encourage them to make complete sentences that include the speech sound or word(s).
Exercise #7 for Speech Apraxia:. Create a Mystery Bag
The mystery bag is one of the most exciting games you can play with children who have apraxia of speech. Put several different toys and variously shaped objects like balls, stars, cubes, cardboard squares, and triangles in an opaque bag.
Ask your child to reach inside and grab an item. Next, ask them simple questions like “is it big or small?”, “is it short or long?” and “what shape is it?” Do not ask them to name the object right away.
It will make an intriguing interactive game that keeps the child occupied for a good few minutes. It boosts both tactile learning and articulation in small children who have CAS.
You can also ask your child to close their eyes as you pick one item and describe it to them. Encourage them to ask questions about the object to figure out what you have in your hand.
These are Childhood Apraxia of speech activities for parents and children that aim to provide opportunities for repetition. The ulterior goal of any therapy for childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is to help children achieve clarity of speech. These activities and games make apraxia treatment at home intriguing and productive.