Apraxia Monday: Giving My Child the Gift of Voice

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By Leslie Lindsay

No doubt a busy time of year.  You are making lists and checking them twice…baking…shopping…wrapping…decorating…

Holiday Themed Kids Party

(image source: http://www.thefamilygroove.com/dec11_ItsMyParty.htm)

And schlepping your child(ren) to and from speech therapy.  You might be thinking that the holidays is a good time to put a stop on things, you know…take a break from therapy.

But that cannot be an option.  Go ahead, read that again:  You cannot stop taking your child to speech therapy just because it’s the holidays.  As with anything that improves your life, you can’t stop cold turkey.  You wouldn’t stop taking your blood presssure medication just because you’re busy, right? And  you wouldn’t take the cast off until the bone was done healing just because it won’t fit into the reindeer costume for the holiday play.  Nope. 

Speech therapy is so very important to your child with apraxia that it would hinder his development if you say, went to visit Santa at the mall instead of going for your Wednesday afternoon speech therapy.  Here’s why:

  • Your child thrives on routine and consistency.  He may actually look forward to seeing his SLP each week.  And if you’ll recall, ASHA indicates the “best” treatment for kids with CAS is “consistent, intense and frequent.” 
  • Your child may be on the brink of a new speech-language development.  Perhaps he just about has that ST-blend down or she is really close to saying her name; a day off a therapy could be a set-back.
  • Taking a break from theray may decrease your child’s motivation.  “Why bother [talking, practicing my words] if mom/dad doesn’t bother taking me to speech?”
  • Taking a break from therapy may decrease your motivation.  “What’s the use, anyway?  We’re just having fun with the holidays…he’ll talk when he’s ready/when we get back in January.” 

What to do:

  • Make going to speech therapy fun.  Load up your car with a special speechtime box, container, or basket.  Keep some fun trinkets in it as a reward for a job well-done. (Candycanes, erasers, pencils, coupons for special time with mom/dad, a bonus trip to the indoor playland)
  • Practice holiday words.  Whatever your holiday may be, I am sure there are some words or phrases your child can work on.
  • Invite Grandma and Grandpa that they can come along to the speech clinic.  Introduce your extended family to your devoted SLPs, and OTs.  It helps build a sense of community and understanding.  Plus, grandparents can see first-hand how much your child is improving, and put a name with a face.  grandma and grandpa cartoons jokes
  • Plan your schedule accordingly.  You may have to decline invitations to holiday parties or swap family obligations.  Your child’s speech therapy is that important.
  • Give your child a choice.  Say, “We have to go to speech therapy today, but on [whatever day] you can choose to visit Santa or go to the Festival of Lights.  Choice is empowering for children.
  • If you must travel for the holidays and take a few days off from the speech clinic, it won’t be the end of the world.  Just remember to continue working with your child on his functional language and introduce new words, too. 

See also this post from last year https://leslie4kids.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/apraxia-monday-holiday-break/

and this one From “Jake’s Journey” http://jakes-journey-apraxia.com/2012/01/04/sprint-out-of-holiday-mode-and-pat-yourself-on-the-back/

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