Tag Archives: CCC-SLP

Apraxia Monday: Interview with Kimberly Scanlon, CCC-SLP

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By Leslie Lindsay

Apraxia Monday:  He Talks Funny Author Jeanne Buesser & Give-a-Way

Special thanks to Kim Scanlon of Scanlon Speech Therapy in Ramsey, NJ and author of My Toddler Talks for joining us today.  She’s also mom of Kerrigan Grace (aka Kerri) who is 7 months old.  Without further adieu, here’s Kim!

L4K: Wow. I am just amazed at your energy.  You’re a mom, a speech-language therapist of a busy practice, and author of My Toddler Talks.  How do you do it all? 

Kimberly, CCC-SLP: I drink a lot of coffee and don’t sleep! Ha! To be honest, I really try to manage my time so I can do it all without becoming too stressed. Time management is key. The night before I go to sleep, I compose a very detailed to-do list. Then, I wake up the next morning, ready to tackle my day! Having my to-do list keeps me focused. It also helps that I love crossing off tasks as I complete them; gives me a sense of accomplishment.Professional Picture (300 dpi)

Additionally, I strongly believe in having routines because they keep my sanity. In My Toddler Talks, I write about the importance of routines and guide readers on how to create routines to facilitate language development in their toddlers.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, I love what I do! After having a great speech therapy session, I feel energized! Treating my clients makes me happy. Additionally, my husband, Ryan is very supportive and I’m super lucky that my mom babysits, Kerrigan while I work. All in all, I’m very fortunate to have such a blessed life.

L4K: You have a wide variety of skills and experiences from Early Intervention to school-based SLP, and even a medical center working with geriatric patients.  Do you have a favorite population to work with?  I bet you learn a little something about every population. 

Kimberly, CCC-SLP:  I’ve had such wonderful and varied work experiences in my career. A very wise mentor once told me that you should try your hand in each population and seek different settings to find your niche. Currently, I primarily treat children; a majority of them are toddlers and preschoolers. Although, I like to have a diverse caseload because it keeps your perspective fresh.

L4K: I love your tagline, “making speech therapy fun and effective.”  What do you find are the keys to a fun and effective speech session? 

Kimberly, CCC-SLP:  Thank you, Leslie! Whether I’m treating adults or children, it’s important to keep things interactive and exciting. Discovering what motivates a client is critical to their success. By nature, I’m upbeat and a little zany so it’s pretty easy for me to turn even a structured task into something fun.

As for effective, I also have a type A personality and strive to do my best. I invest a lot of time and money into staying up-to-date on best practices. Using evidence based strategies, devising a good treatment plan and systematically targeting goals and objectives produce effective and efficient results.

L4K: Your post on Sandra Boynton’s Book, Snuggle Puppy (February, 2013) warmed my heart, as it did many others.  Can you give us some more tips on how to make reading with your child more engaging?  How does reading really help with speech and language development?Product Details

Kimberly, CCC-SLP: Thank you! I had so much fun writing my Snuggle Puppy post.

I can think of so many ways to make reading with your child more engaging and have written several posts about this topic on my blog. Creating a reading routine and picking a time when your child is most relaxed and focused is essential. For toddlers, choose books that he can relate to and read ones that mirror some of his own life experiences. For instance, using the potty or going to the zoo.   (image source: Amazon.com 3.10.13) 

There are so many ways reading helps with speech (articulation, voice, and fluency) and language (expressive and receptive skills). In fact, I could probably write another book on it! Books can easily be used to target very specific objectives. For articulation purposes, books can provide an enjoyable context to practice certain sounds. If a child is learning to say his “f” sounds and has progressed to the sentence level, reading books that have multiple opportunities for “f” is so much more engaging then doing worksheets! For language development, you can use books to target verbs, adjectives, prepositions, following directions, answering and asking various wh questions. And, the list goes on.

L4K: The concept behind your book, My Toddler Talks is to empower parents, grandparents and educators to promote language skills in kiddos through play.  What aspect of the book are you most proud of?  My Toddler Talks Book Cover (300 dpi)

Great question! There are so many parts of My Toddler Talks that I love (the 25 step-by-step play routines, the easy to remember acronyms, the troubleshooting tips, etc). I’m really proud of how well I transformed some complex “speechie” terms and concepts into something much more parent friendly and easy to digest. Of course, this book is not a replacement for speech therapy, but its hands on and helpful. I set out to design a workbook for parents to read with their highlighters and pens. One to make them think, “Yeah, I can do that! I’m going to try it tomorrow!”

My Toddler Talks is available for purchase at Amazon.  But…Kim has graciously offered to give-a-way a copy to one lucky reader.  (See below for detials). 

L4K:  Finally, what advice would you give to a parent who is raising a child with CAS? 

  • Seek out an ASHA certified and licensed speech language pathologist who is experienced in treating apraxia of speech.
  • For severe cases, teach the child some signs or how to use a picture book to reduce frustration and increase functional communication until his speech motor system further develops for speech.
  • Practice specific sounds or words in short but purposeful 10 to 15 minute bursts throughout the day.
  • Purchase Speaking of Apraxia by Leslie Lindsay! 
  • Last but certainly not least, give your child a break. He needs to have down time as well. Don’t push practicing if he’s tired, stressed, or not feeling well.

***Thanks, Kim for sharing your passion for speech!***

Now for the… Apraxia Monday:  He Talks Funny Author Jeanne Buesser & Give-a-WayWant a free copy of Kim’s book, My Toddler Talks?  Of course you do!  Drop me a line (leslie_lindsay@hotmail.com) or make a comment on the blog about how this post “spoke” to you.  A U.S. winner will be drawn at random Friday, March 15th 2013 at noon CST.  You will be contacted via email if you are the winner.  Book will be mailed to you free of charge.

Help SPEAKING OF APRAXIA win in the READER’S CHOICE AWARDS!  You can VOTERCA 2013 Logo for the book every day now thru March 19th.  Just click on the link below.  THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!  http://specialchildren.about.com/b/2013/02/19/vote-for-favorite-new-special-needs-parenting-book-2.htm

Apraxia Monday: Interview with Melanie Feller, CCC-SLP

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By Leslie Lindsay

I am excited to introduce Melanie Feller, CCC-SLP to “Apraxia Monday.”  Melanie’s article, “7 Common Myths of Childhood Apraxia of Speech” recently appeared on Special Education Advisor http://www.specialeducationadvisor.com/7-common-myths-of-childhood-apraxia-of-speech-cas/ and featured on PediaStaff as a “Worth Repeating” article.  Melanie hails from New Jersey and is currently in Oregon for a professional opportunity.  She continues to practice pediatric speech-language pathology in both locations. 

L4K:  When and how did you get interested in the field of pediatric speech pathology?   Can you tell us a bit about your educational background?  How long have you been a practicing SLP?  (image source: http://www.upwardaz.org/speech-therapy/.  This is not a photo of Melanie or her practice.  The author(s) have no relationship with this company or individuals). 

Melanie, CCC-SLP: As a senior in college. I was a history major, interested in anything but history, and desperately worried about what I would go to graduate school for.  After discovering a book on graduate schools, I came across “communication disorders” in a list of majors, and decided to do some research.  The information I discovered spoke to me, and I went on an observation to see speech therapy in action.  And then I fell in love. Watching that speech pathologist work with a tiny three year old changed my life forever. 

I have a Masters degree from Kean University in Speech Language Pathology and have been practicing for 9 years

I specialize in CAS, as well as overall language delay and disorder and see clients of all ages, but primarily those from 0-12.   For the younger clients, my model is based on play therapy, and I use many aspects of Floortime within my sessions. I am looking forward to starting the Floortime certification process soon! The goal of my practice is to provide therapy that is effective, efficient, and most of all, fun and kind!

This treatment emphasizes emotional development.

L4K: Your area of interest and expertise has a lot to do with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). Can you tell us a little about your interest in such a complex speech disorder?  Do you have personal experience with apraxia?  (image source: http://specialedpost.com/2012/10/14/floortime-therapy-fosters-social-communication-in-kids-with-autism/ The author(s) have no known affiliation with Special Ed Post. For your information only).

My first experience with CAS came about in graduate school.  One of my first clients was a seven-year-old child who didn’t speak. No-one seemed to know why, and everyone had assumed he was unable to.  I remember thinking he demonstrated all the signs of a disorder I had recently learned about, and I thought it would be interesting to treat him as such (speech therapy for apraxia is, as you know, very specific) and see if I could be the one to get him to talk!  And the funny thing is, within a month, he started to use sounds, and within two months, he was using some words.  That’s how I first discovered the wonders of diagnosing and treating verbal apraxia, and it’s only taken off since then.  I find it endlessly fascinating and a joy to work with.  There’s something about watching someone literally learn how to move his mouth to form sounds, and how to coordinate that movement to produce strings of sounds that I find incredibly satisfying and fulfilling.

L4K: The early stages a parent experiences when first learning of their child’s CAS diagnosis can be very challenging.  How—and what—would you say to a parent just learning the diagnosis? 

Melanie, CCC-SLP:        

#1) I would say “Don’t Panic!!!!” That is the most important thing. Panic leads people to do all sorts of things, and that is not a good mentality when entering the world of treatment for CAS.

#2)  I would also offer that virtually every child can communicate in some manner, and no-one should be telling a parent that their child will never talk because he has CAS. That’s not just dishonest, it’s unreasonable. As SLP’s, we cannot make a final judgment as to what the outcome of therapeutic intervention will be. While we cannot offer false hope, we can also not say that there is no hope at all.

#3)  I would offer that it is important to ensure that the child received an accurate diagnosis. CAS is sadly frequently mis-diagnosed. Too many children are under (or over) diagnosed, leading to all sorts of issues.  Sometimes a second opinion is an excellent option.

L4K: With your article, “The 7 Most Common Myths of CAS,” which myth would you say is the most common? 

Melanie, CCC-SLP: I would say the most common [myth] is the first [one listed], that an expressive language delay must mean the child has CAS.    As I previously said, CAS is frequently under or over diagnosed, and as a result children with a simple expressive delay are being told they have a rather involved disorder, while those who have that rather involved disorder are told they’re just late talkers, and need to have just a little speech therapy (or maybe none at all) to be “ok.”

L4K: Your company, Alphabet Soup Speech (cute name, by-the-way), focuses on treating children (up to age 21) for speech/language disorders in a traditional in-person approach, but a large part of your practice is done remotely, a growing trend known as telepractice.  Can you tell us a little about how that evolved?  

Melanie, CCC-SLP: Thank you!  It first started when I discovered that many families were unable to obtain speech services due to time or distance constraints.  I had seen an article about telepractice, and realized that it would be great to be able to offer therapy remotely.  It’s also a wonderful option for me, as it allows me to see clients I might not normally have the time to see, or who might be too far away.

L4K: If someone was interested in telepractice (sometimes referred to as telehealth practice), how would they go about requesting those services?  Is it effective for everybody? 

Students work with Leah who is providing Speech services live from BGSU
 

Students work with Leah who is providing Speech services live from BGSU

(image source: http://wiki.hicksvilleschools.org/users/millerk/weblog/07401/Hicksvilles_Partnership_with_BGSUs_Speech_Telepractice_Program.html.  The author(s) have no known affiliation with Hicksville Schools or Bowling Green University.  For your informationation purposes only). 

Melanie, CCC-SLP: It can be a bit difficult to find. The best way may be to contact a particular therapist, and see if they offer that service. Many therapists that offer telpractice now list it on their websites as well When someone visits my website, they’ll see telepractice written, with a brief explanation. They can call via phone or email me to discuss their concerns for their child and I’ll make a determination as to whether or not teletherapy might be appropriate.  It works very well with children 6+. For younger children, I can provide parents with consultation services. If we agree that it’s a good fit, we can “meet” online and discuss their child’s particular needs.  The meeting also gives me an opportunity to watch the child communicate, and observe how the parent and child interact.   From that I can provide tips and ideas on how the family can work directly with the child.

Online parent education classes are also in the works! I anticipate that these will be very useful to individuals and small groups who want to learn more about milestones, ways to encourage language building, and red flags to watch out for; all while remaining in the comfort of their particular location.

L4K: What are some of your favorite parent-friendly resources for families walking the apraxia path? 

First off, be careful of just entering “apraxia” on a search engine! There’s lots of mis-information out there, and lots of information that seems to only serve to scare parents, and make them think they have a hopeless, never-ending situation on their hands! 

Some parent friendly resources:   

  • The ASHA (American Speech Language and Hearing Association) page on verbal apraxia offers honest, straightforward, and easy to understand information http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/childhoodapraxia.htm They also provide a practitioner search engine for the public. Enter your zip code and they’ll give you a list of ASHA certified speech pathologists in your area.
  • The Apraxia-Kids website offers lots and lots of information – it can be overwhelming at times but overall it’s a great resource.http://www.apraxia-kids.org/
  • Speaking of Apraxia (Woodbine House, 2012)  There aren’t a lot of good books out there that are accurate, and specifically speak of apraxia on a friendly level (i.e. not a textbook). I’d be interested to know from your readers if there are any books they like that I haven’t heard of!

L4K: Where can readers learn more about you?  Do you blog?  Have a website?  Facebook page?  Twitter account? 

Melanie, CCC-SLP: There are lots of ways! 

  • Website: alphabetsoupspeech.com  I am in the process of updating it and am looking forward to a “new and improved” site soon 
  • Facebook: Alphabet Soup Speech Consultants, LLC.
  • Twitter www.twitter.com@iloveofspeech
  • My blog is in the process of being revamped, and I will be blogging again by early springhttp://alphabetsoupspeech.blogspot.com/
    Photo: Life is not a destination...It's a Journey.<br /><br />
However, do n't expect everyone to understand your journey, especially if they've never walked your path.

Many thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Melanie.  Your time and expertise is much appreciated.  Best wishes on your journey!—Leslie : )

 
 

Apraxia Monday: School-Based SLP Natalie Boatwright

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By Leslie Lindsay

***Photo Dec 16, 6 54 41 PMSLP INTERVIEW!!!***

Thanks a bunch for taking the time to chat with us, Natalie.  We are excited to learn speech tips and tricks for the early childhood set from someone who is so well-versed (sorry, couldn’t resist), in the field.  Let’s start by getting to know you a bit.

L4K: When and how did you get interested in the field of pediatric speech pathology?  Is it something that has always been in interest of yours, or did it evolve along with your academic career? 

Natlie, CCC-SLP: It all started when I was a freshman in college. I was at orientation, and we were making our schedules for the first semester. I happened upon a course called “Intro to Communication Disorders.” I guess you could say it evolved with my academic career…I was hooked after the first class.

L4K: As a school-based SLP, what are some of the top speech concerns you see at the grade-school level?   

Natalie, CCC-SLP: The main concern I have encountered this year is with carry-over of learned skills into the classroom. I have a plan in place to help with this. I hope it continues to work…so far so good.

L4K: When I was an elementary student, I recall kids getting pulled out for speech services.  We called it “speech teacher,” at the time.  How do you see school-based SLPs evolving in the future? 

Natalie, CCC-SLP: Currently, I provide both pull-out and in-class services. The type of service is determined on an individual basis per the student’s needs. At this time, more of my direct therapy follows the pull-out model. However, in the near future I can see SLPs evolving into more in-class therapy services, perhaps in more of a co-teach model with the general education teacher during a reading or language arts lesson.

 L4K: While looking at your blog, Just Wright Speech, I see you have a ton of really cute and crafty projects to get kids talking.  How did you develop these ideas? [Be sure to check out and “like” her FB page, https://www.facebook.com/JustWrightSpeech and also the blog at http://justwrightspeech.blogspot.com/

Natalie, CCC-SLP: Thank you! Currently I’m still building my materials library, but the majority of the ideas are very simplistic and usually thought of while I am working on another project. Some of my activities have been inspired by other SLPs…there are some GREAT ideas out there. I usually tweak the activity just a bit to allow for more flexibility with among my very diverse caseload.  (I also keep a notebook of ideas. When one comes to mind, I jot it down…one day, there will be time to give them all a try!)

L4K: Most importantly, how do kids respond to your clever games and crafts?  What are some of their favorites?   

Natalie, CCC-SLP: My students are really motivated by activities that allow them to work together, and get away from the table. Such is the case with the recent life-size snowmen/women we made. This activity allowed them to work together and build something while at the same time targeting goals of requesting, sequencing, labeling, and more. The best part was being away from the kidney shaped table in the room and being able to work freely in a different place.  (image source: http://mommyspeechtherapy.com/?p=283.  retrieved 2.18.13)

L4K: What’s the social climate like in schools these days?  Do kids feel ‘picked on’ or ‘isolated’ due to their speech concerns?  How might a teacher/parent/or another school-based SLP address those concerns? 

Natalie, CCC-SLP: Within my current elementary school, to my knowledge, students do not feel as though they are “different” because they receive speech therapy. Many of the students within the school are seen for various things throughout the day. It is not unusual to the student or his/her peers to receive ‘help’ be it inside or outside of the classroom.

L4K: What are some of your favorite family-friendly resources for coping with bullies, disabilities, or a speech disorder?    

Natalie, CCC-SLP: When meeting with parents I like them to have something to walk away with in their hands. As a result, I have compiled a binder of articles, many of which I have found online at www.asha.org. ASHA stands for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. I have by binder in order by grade level (kindergarten through fifth grade) with the original articles in sheet protectors and parent copies following, in both English and Spanish (my elementary campus is a bilingual campus). Some of the articles in my binder are: 

Wow–a BIG Thanks to Natalie for taking the time to share your thoughts, ideas, and expertise with us! 

Apraxia Monday: It’s Yoga Time

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By Leslie Lindsay

Forget Hammer time…it’s yoga time! 

Just recently, my daughter Kate (7.9 years and recovering from CAS) came home from school all pumped up about yoga.  Yes, yoga.  Her P.E. instructor lead a week-long segment on the benefits of yoga.  She fell in love.  (and yay for the P.E. teacher for trying something a little unconventional).

Kate looked around the house for my yoga mats–she going to teach mom some “yoga moves” (forgetting all about the all-important after-school snack).  I smiled and went along with her.    Satisfied, she rolled the mats out in the basement play area and flipped on an old Enya C.D.  She even made a poster, ‘Yoga is Fun’ and a membership card.  She stood at the bottom of the stairs and fake-punched my card.  I was set for a 1:1 yoga instruction.   Late Jan 2013 007

She lead me through a series of excercises/poses and I have to admit–some were pretty tough.  She beamed.  I don’t know if it was the fact that mommy was doing something she had learned at school, or the fact that she could get her tiny, pliable body into more poses than me, or perhaps it was just that yoga ‘spoke’ to her. 

Just why is yoga so effective for my daughter?  And what does childhood apraxia have to do with it, anyway? Kid's Yoga - Ages 3-7yrs (image source: http://www.hotbody-fitness.com/kids-yoga-3-7-yrs.html.  No affliation between the author of this post and this website)

For those of you who aren’t familiar, CAS is a neurologically-based motor speech disorder.  Rooted in the brain, but expressing itself in the verbal communication (or lack thereof) of children, CAS is a complex disorder characterized by the inability to produce verbal sounds to form intelligible words.  Here is the definition offered by ASHA in 2007, “A neurological childhood (pediatric) speech sound disorder in which precision and consistency of movements underlying speech are impaired in the absence of neuromuscular deficits.”   In plain language, children with apraxia of speech want to speak, yet they just can’t coordinate their thoughts with their mouth.  (image source: http://simplifyyoga.com/kids_yoga.  I have no affiliation with this website or company.)

Where: Simplify Yoga 1050 Tiogue Ave, Coventry

Here’s how yoga may help your child with CAS:

  • Child becomes more self-aware. 
  • Make the brain-body connection that is so vital in a neurologically-based motor speech disorder.  
  •  Some yoga requires chanting or mantra style vocalizations (humming, buzzing), which is all a part of early communication. 
  • There is a good deal of breath awareness in these exercises and any yoga practice. 
  • Finally, the repetitive aspects of relaxation exercises and yoga poses are key: the body craves repetition to gain mastery over motor-based movement. 

These very same principles can be applied to speech-language pathology, and specifically childhood apraxia (CAS).

If you feel like this is a path you would like to explore, look to see if your child’s speech clinic offers occupational therapy, sensory integration therapy, or yoga.  It really can be quite beneficial to children of all ages with all types of motor speech disorders.  Worst case scenario:  your child has tapped into a new coping strategy that may prove helpful for the future. 

  • For more information about the research-based Calm Classroom program (a guided relaxation/yoga audio CD), please visit their website, http://calmclassroom.com.
  • You’ll also find yoga and other alternative methods of treatment for CAS in SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012). 
  • Check out Omazing Kids, a blog developed by Angela Moorad, SLP on the benefits of  yoga and keeping kids of every abililty active.  http://omazingkidsllc.com/
  • Here’s Omazing Kids’ Facebook Page.  http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga?ref=ts&fref=ts

COMING UP ON APRAXIA MONDAY:

  • Next week, Feb 4th we have a special guest interview of “Apraxia Dad” David Ozab. 
  • In two weeks, Feb 11th, a little information on recently published He Talks Funny by Jeanne Buesser. 
  • Later in February, an interview with school-based SLP Natalie Boatman. 

Apraxia Monday: Interview with Cari Ebert, CCC-SLP

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By Leslie Lindsay

Today I have a special guest interview, Cari Ebert, CCC-SLP of Summit Speech Therapy and fellow speechie blogger.  Thanks a bunch for taking the time to chat with us, Cari.  We are excited to learn speech tips and tricks for the early childhood set from someone who is so well-versed (sorry, couldn’t resist), in the field.  Let’s start by getting to know you a bit. (image source: http://www.blogger.com/profile/06868042271330481283.  Reetrieved 1.21.13)

My Photo

L4K: When and how did you get interested in the field of pediatric speech pathology?  Is it something that has always been an interest of yours, or did it evolve along with your academic career? 

CE, SLP: I actually started my career working with adults in long-term care.  I worked in skilled nursing facilities and had a special interest in patients who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. After having my first daughter, however, I was so amazed watching her grow and develop that I switched gears, and became a pediatric speech-language pathologist.   I now work primarily in early intervention (EI) with the birth to three population.  The primary purpose of EI is to empower parents by increasing their confidence and competence in facilitating their child’s development.  Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher which is why I believe so strongly in the power of early intervention. 

L4K: Can you tell us a bit about your educational background?  How long have you been a practicing SLP? 

CE, SLP: I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa (Go Hawkeyes!) in 1993 and my graduate degree at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (Go Salukis!) in 1995.  I have been a speech-language pathologist for 17 years and have specialized in early intervention for 12 of those years.      

L4K: Do you have any tips for aspiring SLPs?  Keep an open mind about whether you want to work with adults or kids. 

CE, SLP: Depending on where you at in your life, your interests may change over time.  Also, be sure to shadow a few therapists in different settings before you declare your major in school.  You will pour blood, sweat and tears into this degree so be sure it is the one for you! 

L4K: Your area of interest and expertise has a lot to do with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS).  In fact, you lecture on and treat children with CAS.  Can you tell us a little about your interest in such a complex speech disorder?  Do you have personal experience with apraxia—did you or your own children struggle with the disorder? 

CE, SLP: Over the years I have evolved into an apraxia therapist and I strive to help families of very young children who are late to talk.  Early on, when a child is essentially non-verbal, I look for characteristics or “red flags” that make me suspect childhood apraxia of speech as the cause for the lag in expressive language and speech development. 

Because most of the toddlers I see in therapy don’t even know they have lips or a tongue (literally!), we start the therapy process by increasing the child’s awareness of his articulators, and progress from there.  I do have personal experience with apraxia as well.  My 8 year old son has autism and apraxia and he has taught me more about my profession than any book I have ever read and any course I have ever taken.  I love to learn and apraxia is such a complex disorder, that it keeps me on my toes!  (image source: http://pathways.org/pathways-center/services/speech-therapy/.  This is not an image of Cari Ebert, CCC-SLP)  Speech Therapy L4K: As you are well-aware, CAS is a challenging disorder/diagnosis.  What would you tell a parent who is suspecting CAS?  How do you usually give  the diagnosis? 

CE, SLP:  CAS is a SPEECH disorder, not a LANGUAGE disorder.  That means the child must actually have speech before it can be diagnosed.  Too many SLPs are mis-diagnosing and over-diagnosing CAS in non-verbal toddlers.  In young children under age 3, I recommend SLPs give the diagnosis of “suspected childhood apraxia of speech” until the child is verbal and the diagnosis can be confirmed

CAS is a dynamic disorder and speech characteristics can change over time with appropriate therapy and neurological maturation.  I usually don’t focus too much on the label in the beginning stages of therapy.  I am eager to help the child find his or her voice and experience some much needed success early on in the process.  This is so important because success breeds confidence (“I think I can”), which helps the child become a communication risk-taker (“I’m willing to try new things”).   

Becoming a communication risk-taker is crucial to building both competence and confidence.  I encourage parents to revel in the small achievements that their child makes, because all of those baby steps eventually equal a major milestone.  Progress will not be rapid and I am sure to remind parents of this because every parent will get frustrated at some point in the therapy process. 

L4K: What are some of your favorite parent-friendly resources for families walking the apraxia path?  (websites, clinics, books, groups, etc.) 

Computer References

CE, SLP:  I encourage parents not to google apraxia because I want to be sure the information obtained is accurate and beneficial.  Three of my favorite websites are:  www.apraxia-kids.org; www.kidspeech.com; and www.cherabfoundation.org.  My two favorite parent friendly books are The Late Talker by Marilyn Agin and Speaking of Apraxia by Leslie Lindsay–what an awesome resource! 

Along with these resources, I have personally created a hierarchy of developmental skills that need to be addressed in therapy to ensure success.  I also think finding or creating a support group can reduce the stress and anxiety that goes along with raising a child with special needs.  The support group I started about 6 years ago is called H.U.G.S. which stands for Helping, Understanding, Guiding, Supporting.  It has been a lifeline for me as I take this journey into the unknown. 

One thing is for sure, we need each other and we don’t have to do it alone!  Being with a group of people who understand my plight, strengthen me when I am down, and revel in my child’s successes has been priceless. 

L4K: Can you tell us more about your clinic, Summit Speech Therapy, LLC.  Do you have a website?  Are you actively taking new clients? 

CE, SLP: Because very young children learn best in their natural environment (home, daycare, etc.), I travel to the child instead of having the child come into a clinic.   I office out of my home and spend my days commuting from one family’s home to the next.  I do consult with families “long distance” via email, phone, & Skype.  Many parents send me videos of their child and I give them my thoughts and analysis based on what I observe.  Occasionally I have families who choose to come spend a few days here in Kansas City where I can consult with them in person. 

As I mentioned before, I strongly believe that parents are a child’s most important teacher, and it is always my goal to coach the parents on how to best facilitate their child’s development.  I recognize that young children learn differently than older children and my therapy style reflects this. 

L4K: I understand you blog as well.  How long—and what is your goal—with blogging? 

CE, SLP: I am not a techno-savvy person, but I decided to start blogging about 6 months ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and was unable to work.  Through blogging I was able to stay in touch with my profession and my clients and I know this helped me fight my battle. 

My blog website is www.learning-through-play.com My goal in blogging is to help parents and professionals understand how important play is in the development of young children.  You see, very young children do not learn best through flash cards and drill work.  Rather, they learn best through play that is relevant and meaningful to their life.  Too often, therapy with young children is ineffective because therapists are trying to utilize inappropriate therapy methods. 

Roman road in Hashofet creekL4K: One piece of sound advice for the road?  

CE, SLP: One thing I say frequently when I present is that talking does NOT start at the mouth.  A child must possess strong gross and fine motor imitation skills first because a child must imitate what we do before he or she will ever imitate what we say.  Too frequently SLPs put the cart before the horse and start trying to teach the child to talk, when in fact, the child may not even be able to motor plan gross and/or fine motor movements. 

WOW–what a bunch of great information, Cari.  Thank you so very much for offering your time and expertise to “Apraxia Monday.”

Leslie, I want to thank you for your time and commitment to helping parents understand more about apraxia!  And good luck to all your readers and their small talkers!