When my daughter was diagnosised with CAS some 4 years ago, I was only vaguely familiar with whom and what a speech-langauge pathologist (SLP) was. Well, let me tell you–I have a very clear understanding of what an SLP is now! Although, I will admit, when we first learned of Kate’s CAS diagnosis, I thought the only thing I could do as a mom was schlepp her to and from speech therapy a few times a week. Boy, was I wrong!
There is so much and so many things you as a parent can do at home with your child to improve their communication skills. We talked about this in last week’s Small Talk: All About Apraxia group. Here are some take-away ideas:
- Read to your child! I know, it sounds like a no-brainer–but it really does the trick. Books with target sounds/words/phrases can really get the job done. Also, reading repetitive books are a really great way to boost the language-driven skills since we know CAS is a motor-speech disorder.
- Make a game of it. If you are “sneaky” in the way you present new words and practice then your kiddo may not even realize what you are up to. We used to have Kate locate large flashcards around the house in a scavenger-hunt style game. When she found the card, she ran to us and we’d ask her to say what was depicted in the card (a photo or simple drawing).
- Take her to the park. Ever been to a quiet park? With children present?! Hummm…gross motor movement often gets kids making noise, whether words or not, it’s still good practice.
- Swing! I can’t tell you how many times an SLP told us that vestibular stimulation got the brian moving and ready for speech. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the same SLP tell us to swing Kate several times a day while practicing speech sounds. It worked. It took time and patience, but it worked.
- Sing your way to words. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I sang to my kids (still do!) all the time. I made simple directions into songs, as well as daily routines and whatever else I could. Why? Our bodies entrain to music (tap to the beat), and it becomes a way to “lock” that information away in areas of our brain where we can most easily access it.
- Most of all–have fun!
If you have any other ideas for working with your children with CAS at home, let us know by posting a comment in the “comments section” of today’s blog.