Welcome to a Monday (evening) edition of Apraxia Monday! What a day, what a day…and to end it with a great interview of Teri Peterson, who is a pediatric speech-pathologist in Brainerd, Minnesota. Ms. Peterson and I first met at a CASANA conference in St. Charles, Il. Ironic meeting place since she’s from Minnesota and my family and I actually lived there for awhile. Not only do we have the Minnesota connection, but Teri and I both care very much about kiddos who have CAS. Be sure to participate in the book give-a-way, too. Read on to learn more:
L4K: Teri, can you tell us a bit about how you got involved with speech pathology?
TP, SLP: Unfortunately, I don’t have a fun story to tell about how I arrived into the field of speech pathology. I just happened to stumble upon speech therapy in college. One of my roommates was in the program and convinced me to give it a try. Surprisingly I didn’t even know what speech therapy was. I knew I wanted to be some sort of teacher, and speech pathology seemed to be a good fit for me at the time. As I made my way through the introductory course, I was hooked. There was something about it I liked however I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time.
L4K: What population and diagnoses do you typically work with? Any chance you recall when you first started working with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)?
TP, SLP: For the past 25 years I have specialized in pediatrics. I have worked in a variety of settings – including schools, hospitals, home based settings, and outpatient clinics. I’ve always been interested in working with children who have more challenging behaviors. I specialize in treating children with autism, apraxia of speech, oral sensory motor disorders, feeding disorders, and general articulation and language disorders. I also enjoy working with parents as I believe they are the most important part of the team.
I can’t recall my first experience with cas however I do remember being frustrated because I was not having success treating children who were minimally verbal. I remember realizing I had a lot more to learn so I started attending continuing education classes. That is where I first heard about CAS and therefore learned to treat/work with children with this disorder. It took years of learning and practice in order to refine my skills. Now, with the skills in place, my desire is to empower young therapists and equip them with the tools and strategies they need in order to successfully work with this population. I understand the importance of experience however I want speech pathologists to have the therapy strategies as soon as possible so they can begin to fine tune their skills right from the start. This way they don’t have to proclaim they are confident at the age of 49 – they can feel successful a lot sooner than I did!
L4K: Do you have any tips, tricks, or ideas on working with kids with CAS? What makes it such a challenging diagnosis?
TP, SLP: In my opinion, I believe it is hard to treat cas because treatment strategies are still not taught in school (as I have been told by a handful of recent graduates with mastered degrees). In addition, it takes time to refine ones ability to work with active little ones who are not interested in sitting down and practicing necessary motor planning and speech sound activities. It takes time and practice learning to deal with different tempermants successfully.
L4K: By now you know I am a “bookie” gal. You have a written a book, “The Big Book of Exclamations” for kids and parents to use together….sort of like fun therapy at home. Can you tell us more about it?
TP, SLP: I am delighted with the feedback I am receiving about The Big Book of Exclamations. The book was conceived after about 10 years of using books with many, many children….both typically developing children and those with communication disorders. I came to the realization that there was not a book on the market that did what I wanted it to do. I found myself constantly crossing out the text and stories in books and replacing it with sounds, words, and/or phrases which better suited a childs specific developmental level and needs. After years of doing this I knew someday I would have to create a book that would do what I wanted/needed it to do. I wanted a book that would engage a child in a way which would entice the child to participate and practice the sounds, syllables, words and/or phrases the child needed to practice in order to progress with their speech/language skills.
Such fun! Thank you, Teri for taking the time to enlighten us.
And now–as a special treat, Ms. Peterson has donated a copy of her book, “The Big Book of Exclamations!” to give-a-way to a lucky blog reader!
What you need to do: Email me email@example.com or or post in the “comments” section what your child’s favorite exclamation is. It can be funny, or serious…what ever he or she is saying often and with conviction–we want to know! The 5th comment to come my way gets a copy of Teri’s book (retail value at $14.95) mailed to them at their home–and a special mention on the blog.