When Neil Sedaka blended the notes perfectly together back in the 1960s to sing the song, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, he didn’t know that one day someone might disagree with his heartfelt chorus. Anyone who has tried scripting with their apraxic child knows that breaking up a word or sentence into a simpler form is not hard to do. In fact, it is the easiest thing you’ll ever do to boost your child’s communication skills.
I first heard about scripting while reading through some old posts on the “House of Krause” blog and then thought I’d try it out myself. In the beginning, I used one word to script for Jake’s needs and wants. For example, if he pointed or grunted for juice, I would get him to say something as close to the word “juice” as possible. But now that Jake is older and can say more approximations, our scripting has elaborated into whole sentences. For example, now scripting sounds like this for us: Me- “I. Want. Grape. Juice. Please.” And Jake repeats each word after me.
If you are just starting this journey with apraxia, you may ask, Why do you have to individually say each word in the sentence? Why wouldn’t you just say the whole sentence? And it’s because usually when he tries, all the words jumble together and come out unintelligible.
I script all day, every day while I’m cooking, doing laundry, cleaning house, grocery shopping, running errands, and hanging out at the ball field. If I am in public, however, I like to squat down and look him in the eye before we begin our dialogue practice. This helps him to focus when there’s a lot of other distractions around.
Yesterday I searched on Google for a more accurate description of scripting and I ran across a blog called “Unexpected Lessons.” This mom writes about her daughter’s cerebral palsy and apraxia. As luck would have it, her latest post was about her recent trip to the Kaufman Center and you guessed it … scripting! Oia’s mom writes,
To ask an apraxic child to come up with the answers out of thin air to a question you’ve just hurled at them is extremely hard and in some situations, it’s nearly impossible. Instead, scripting safely facilitates a response or answer for your child. But first, we must figure out what Oia wants/needs. Here’s an example. Oia may bring me one of her baby dolls and without thinking I’d say “What do you want me to do?” but a better way for me to help her is to say “Do you want me to hold baby?” By doing so I’ve answered her question with what would be her answer/request if she could speak it independently, which is “hold baby”. If that is in fact what she wants me to do, then I say to her “Tell me: Mommy, hold baby.” Then I’d immediately script the words “Mommy, hold baby” for her using as little verbal or visual cues as possible. Scripting is word for word, or sound by sound. I cue the first word by making the /m/ sound, she’d follow by saying “Mommy”. I cue the second word with /h/ sound, she’d follow by saying “hold”. Same with baby. That’s scripting; creating your child’s dialog when they can’t create it on their own. Scripting over and over again trains the brain and over time the cues should fade and eventually Oia should be able to speak more words independently with some spontaneity. So far, Oia has been very receptive to scripting and we do it just about all day long. I have seen a number of positive changes in her already. *
I am always learning in this journey and this blog post helped me to take what we’ve considered scripting over the past few months to a higher level. From this, I learned that we should start making the initial sound of the word to at least give Jake the opportunity to recall it on his own first. A couple of months ago, I know he couldn’t have done this, but now I think he may be up for the challenge.
* Permission obtained from Mo, the author of “Unexpected Lessons.”
2 thoughts on “Scripting and Apraxia”
Hey – thanks so much for the videos. It’s one thing to read how to do this, but it’s another to actually see it. And watching your son gives me hope that our “quiet little boy” will be stringing words together some day. With apraxia, each tiny step of progress is so exciting, but some days it is difficult to recognize progress when the words still aren’t flying out of his mouth, if you know what I mean.