Jake's Journey with Apraxia

And the Friends We Met Along the Way

When Jake first got diagnosed with apraxia and I was on a Google frenzy, I read, When a child has Childhood Apraxia of Speech he or she may need 3,000 productions of a sound combination or word to learn a muscle memory for that combination. Whoa! To say the least, that statistic upset and overwhelmed me. So many words, so little time … and what a steep hill to climb. How would we ever make it to the top?

Fast forward nine months later and we are steadily approaching that 1,000 mark. And for those of you just starting the process, in retrospect, it hasn’t been that bad. We’ve gotten into a routine and have figured out what does and does not work for us.

For the past month or so, Jake’s been getting bored with his iPad flash cards and I’ve been short on time, so I tried a different approach with him. I’ve been sitting outside on the patio with him or laying in bed propped up on pillows, and I say each word on my list and he repeats it after me. When he completes 100-150 words or so, he gets to do a fun activity. I’m happy to report that he can now mimic these words almost perfectly. Our SLP, however, has said before we can move beyond the first set of Kaufman words, he has to be able to look at the picture on the card and “recall” what it is. He really struggles with this.

Jake will be four in three months and it is beyond important to me that he moves past this first set of Kaufman cards before his birthday. So, last week I got out the card stock and made about 150 flash cards with the words that he needs to master. It was my mission to have them completed before my other kids got out of school for summer break.

Here are the details about my DIY apraxia flash cards that turned out amazing …

I used a different color card stock for each set of sounds (b,p,h,w,m,n,t,d). Then, I got out the ruler and divided each 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper into 6 even squares. I have all of the Kaufman words written down and actually could recite most of them by memory, so I typed each word in bold, black print at the bottom of each square.

Now, for the time-consuming part: PICTURES. This is exhausting in a fun, challenging, will-I-ever-make-it kind of way. I used some of our own family pictures, snapped photos out of his favorite books, and got the rest from Google Image. (Yes, Jake helped me through most of this process, which slowed me down considerably, but was super exciting for him).

I saved all of the pictures onto my computer and then selected them to print as a contact sheet. These parameters enabled me to print twelve pictures to a page and were the perfect size for my flash cards. I did this in a few different sessions and this is what my dining room table looked like for a little over a week …

When they were finally complete, I lugged the kids into the car and we went to Staples to have them laminated. This was much more expensive than I thought, but I knew in order to do it right, I couldn’t cheap out on this step. It was about $1.50 for each 8 1/2 x 11 sheet to be laminated and then a flat $8 fee to cut them first before laminating so that they wouldn’t peel up once they were cut again into flash cards. This is how they looked after laminating, but before the dreaded task of cutting …

After I cut all the cards out, I hole-punched each corner, sorted each set by sound in order from easy to difficult, and then attached each set with a metal ring. The finished product looks like this …

My other son practiced his sight words this way when he was in kindergarten and he loved quickly flipping through his words. As my neighbor who teaches Pre-K 4 said, “There’s just something kids love about that metal ring.” Maybe these flash cards will be a quick, straight-forward way for him to practice his words, while at the same time introducing him to phonics.

32 thoughts on “DIY Apraxia Flash Cards

  1. Jenny says:

    You are a great mom. I’m sure you don’t hear that enough! As a mom of an apraxic little man myself, I know how hard and overwhelming it can be. Pat yourself on the back… You’re doing a great job. I blog about fashion as an escape, but you blog about your sons apraxia and I really admire that. I follow your blog and it helps so much. I definitely need to get started in my own flash card project. We are going to summer SPEAK in July and I canf wait! Love nancy Kaufman! Ok this comment is getting longer than anticipated. Just wanted to tell you to keep up the great work and that I think you’re great!

  2. tstarmom says:

    Thanks so much for your words of encouragement and I’m glad my blog helps you out! I seriously need help in the fashion department, so I need to check your blog out. 🙂 Thank goodness my hubby has a good eye b/c he buys pretty much everything I wear! Isn’t SPEAK Nancy Kaufman’s summer program for little ones? If so, how long are you going to be in Detroit for? I so wish I could spend a few weeks there with Jake, but I just don’t know how I could swing it. Keep me posted. I’d love to hear how it goes.

    1. Jenny says:

      I think all the SPEAK kids are between 2 and 4 but I’m not sure of the exact cut off. My little guy turned 3 at the beginning of the month. We go July 7 through the 27… 3 week program. I’ll definitely report back. We met Nancy at a conf in march and she wowed us… If anyone can get my little guy talking its her! They also do 4 day intensively for out of state people… And everything is video taped so you can use the techniques with your therapists at home… I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes. Oh my blog is http://www.flowercityfashionista.blogspot.com and I shudder to think what my hubby would pick for me lol he’d still be wearing stuff from 20 years ago if I didn’t make him clean out his closet lol

    2. nina says:

      Hi I was wondering if i could get a list of those words

      1. tstarmom says:

        Hi Nina, I cannot give out Nancy Kaufman’s words, but you could get them from your speech therapist. I wrote them down in therapy one day. Best of luck to you!

      2. Shirl Lowe says:

        Hope that “Nina” sees this….
        You can get the word lists from http://www.northernspeech.com
        Go to the website. Search for K Kit 1 then 2. Choose a kit to ‘order’. Scroll down and click on the View Kaufman Kit # Table of Contents button. You will see THE list for that box. You can print it as well as a treatment hierarchy and other info.
        Good luck.

      3. Stacey says:

        Thank you shril. My speech therapist does not use k cards but I heard they help a lot so I wanted to try and make some. I am going to check on this today. I am so excited I was so frustrated trying to get the info on them. Thank you again

        Happy mom

  3. mamajoyx9 says:

    Wow. 100-150 words at one sitting? You’re my hero. :). I am definately going to try this. My son is 5 and has Down syndrome. The jury is still out on whether he has apraxia or not, but I’m pushing his speech therapist to treat him like he has it, so we’re doing some Kaufmann too. Isn’t it funny how it’s the little thinigs, like little metal rings, that make the difference? I’m always on the lookout for some way to tweak things to gain Noah’s cooperation and enthusiasm.

    I could never keep up with following blogs, but I’m definately putting you in my favorites and pinning you to my speech therapy board. Thanks so much for sharing your work with your ADORABLE son!!!


    1. tstarmom says:

      Hi Alyson! Thanks for stopping by and reaching out. I know, I’m as shocked as you are that he gets in a zone and will repeat all of those words after me. Logically, it makes sense. Do your words & move on to something fun. BUT, he is three and doesn’t always follow the “logical” path! 🙂 What can I say … every once in a while us mamas get lucky. Last night, we did the new flash cards for the first time and he did 50. Recalling requires so much more brain power from him, but he was intrigued with his new cards. I guess since you’re pinning my blog that you’re on Pinterest? I’ll look for you. I’m glad it’s summer and I can actually look through some of the speech therapy stuff myself and others have pinned. That’s great that you’re doing some Kaufman work with Noah. In my opinion, it’s a genius way to teach kids to talk.

  4. wondergril says:

    where do I get a list of the words?

    1. tstarmom says:

      wondergril- I guess your child is in speech therapy now? Do you do Kaufman cards in speech? I can’t give out the words b/c they are Nancy Kaufman’s. That first set of flash cards is about $200. I wrote the words down that we were working on in speech therapy and just made flash cards out of those. Hope this helps!

      1. wondergirl says:

        My boy is in speech therapy in Canada for two years now. We are just starting to do word flips with BOO, BEE, BOW, MY, PEA. Will look into buying the cards if you think there are worth it.

      2. tstarmom says:

        I looked at word flips on the Super Duper site and they look good. I had never heard of these, so thanks for mentioning them. They may be an affordable possibility for us at some point in the future if we need more flash cards. I’ve always tried to just practice whatever words Jake is doing in speech at home b/c repetition is so important with apraxia. I find when I do this, that his speech sessions are always better. I love Kaufman cards, but I do not have my own set b/c he does those in therapy. I didn’t know if he’d get burned out on them if he did them at therapy & at home. I also recommend continuing whatever is working or trying something new if your child is not responding to a particular style or drill. Best of luck-

  5. Dee says:

    You did a fantastic job! My son also has Apraxia. Is there any was you could email the list of words to me? I would be so greatful

  6. Kayla says:

    What are the Kaufman words? I would love to get a hold of them.

  7. Colleen says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful ides. My little boy turned 2 in Jan. We have just recently been told that he may have apraxia.

  8. Stacey says:

    Like many others I have just found your blogs. My son will be 3 in January and we have been doing speech therapy (2 times a week) and developmental therapy (once a week) since June. My speech therapist just mentioned apraxia of speech to me stating this is what she believes my son has but states he would be diagnosed if/when he starts early intervention preschool after he turns 3. I was trying to look up some info in the Kaufman cards you were talking about. I was thinking of making them as you did. I don’t have much money so buying them would be out of the question. Is there any information you can give me on the cards, how they are sorted, what sounds i should use, ect. this apraxia is all very new to me as it was just brought to my attention on monday. I have made a book per his speech therapists request a pick book I have the words “I want” on the front of the book and cards/pictures I made inside so if he wants to take a bath he can pull that card out and put it on the front as a way of letting us know what he wants. I have just started it so he doesn’t really understand yet but we will keep working on it. He has made good progress in the last 6 months he was saying mama, dada and baba only I am working on a full list now but I think we are up to about 15 to 20 actual words now. I am hoping I will get some more time to read more of your blogs I would appreciate any advise or help you can give me. I am going to also ask his therapist about the Kaufman cards she didn’t mention much about apraxia just that it basically is his brain not relaying to him how to say/form the words and he would need to continue intense therapy to improve his speech.
    Thank you in advance for any advise.

    1. tstarmom says:

      Stacey – Welcome! I guess you’ve noticed the category section to the right of my blog? Some of my earlier posts when Jake was 2-3 years old would probably give you some good ideas. Also, regarding the Kaufman cards, I just asked our SLP one day at therapy if I could have the Kaufman box and I sat down and wrote out all of the words. Many times in the beginning when Jake was completely nonverbal, I would just read the words off the list & get him to try to repeat after me. We did those same words for over a year. Hand cues are good too & I would have liked to have done cues with the Kaufman cards. Hand cues cause speech to take a different pathway in the brain & therefore, with many children makes it easier for them to get the words out. My favorite analogy is that apraxia is like learning a dance routine. Some people are naturals & learn quickly. Others have to practice over & over again, but eventually they get it. In the end, the dance comes off effortless. Best of luck to you in your healing journey & feel free to contact me by email if you have any other specific questions.

  9. jennifer janowski says:

    Hi! love this post. Do you have any reason for doing the flash card content on 1-side (word and picture together) vs. 2 sides? (word on one side, picture on other)

    1. tstarmom says:

      Jake could always say a word or sentence better if he could see how it was spelled. (Even though at the time he didn’t know all of his letters/sounds). This was particularly true with sentences. I think for him, it was just another sensory tool to help him speak the word (seeing it vs. just hearing it or seeing a picture). I have started teaching him how to read though with those same cards and ended up writing the word on the back of the card as well in sharpie.

  10. Katy Marren says:

    I came across this post when I was trying to find a way to get this word list for one of my students – I’m a new SLP in a Title I school district so there’s no money to buy this kit. This is a fantastic idea. I wish more of the parents I worked with were as involved with helping their kids as you are. I can’t even get some parents in for IEP meetings, and here you are going above and beyond to help your son with his apraxia. It truly warms my heart. Thank you thank you thank you for being such an awesome parent and for posting this!

    1. Katy, Thank you for your kind words! Encouragement like this keeps me going. I’m glad this will help you. Did you see that the word list is now on the Kaufman card site? They were not publicly published when I wrote this post. Jake was in a poor school district at first and I know what a struggle it is for SLPs to find the proper resources. How awesome that you are thinking outside the box to help your kids! Us apraxia mamas love SLPs like you that are willing to help us fight the fight.

    2. Cindy Crockett says:

      Katy, check http://www.teacherspayteachers.com. We don’t have Kaufman cards in my clinic, but I use the ones from there. Some are very good.

  11. Cindy Crockett says:

    Did you know that you can purchase different apraxia cards (not Kaufman) from http://www.teacherspayteachers.com? You have to download them and laminate them, but many are really good. I bought a cheap 9 x 12 laminator and some film so it is really cheap to laminate.

  12. Susan Carbone says:

    Have you done this for Kaufman kit 2?

    1. Tori says:

      No, I didn’t do it for kit 2. After we stayed on set 1 forever, my son started speaking at 4 years and 3 months old, and all the other sounds came really easy for him. So we didn’t need to do set 2. We progressed instead to Speech-EZ, Lynn Carahaly method.

  13. Jane Kemp says:

    Is there somewhere to locate the whole list from kit 1?

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