A couple of months ago, I wondered if Jake would ever say the sound at the end of words. When he first started speaking, I was just happy to hear him say something as simple as “boo.” But if he had to work so hard to say this simple word, how on earth was he ever going to be able to add a /t/ on the end to make “boot?”
As I’ve heard is typical with apraxic kids, something clicked, and now he’s dramatically improved. What has helped him? What sent him from digression to progression? A combination of things, but the launching platform has been Kaufman cards. I love Nancy Kaufman’s method of easing children into saying CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words because I think it is so logical.
The first step is to learn words that start and end with the same consonant. For example, even now, three months into apraxia therapy, each session we review words like: tot, pop, nun, mom, etc. Once those words were mastered, we moved on to words that begin and end with a different consonant. For example: note, ton, knot, don’t, and beam.
The Kaufman cards have definitely given us a structured approach to tackling this problem, but the following things have each made their own, unique contribution:
- During everyday interaction with Jake, if he doesn’t say one of these words correctly, I will correct him by repeating the word. I emphasize the sound on the end by pointing my index finger and then quickly moving it downward. In the beginning, I had to say something like, “Now you do it,” or “Your turn,” but now he automatically mimics me and 8 times out of 10, he will say the word right. This has worked wonders and I learned it from our public school SLP back in the fall.
- Each morning in the car we listen to Kids’ Express Train. They have an awesome song called “Put the Sound on the End,” which Ms. Kelly introduced us to back in December. Yep, this was one of Jake’s Christmas presents from me. I love, love, love this song and swear this is where Lil’ Man mastered the word “eat.”
- For a while we worked on word combinations like: she and sheep, boo and boot, tie and type, row and rope, bye and bite, bye and bike. To add some adventure to this exercise, we did a scavenger hunt and raced around the house trying to find a picture of the word in a book or the actual item. Once we found it, I would make Jake say the word several times before we would move the next one.
Ironically enough, Jake can say sounds at the end of some words perfectly, but will struggle with the same sound at the beginning of a word; especially with the /p/, /t/, and /s/ sounds. So puzzling, this thing called apraxia.