Jake's Journey with Apraxia

And the Friends We Met Along the Way

On Tuesday morning after Jake and I got home from speech therapy, we baked some gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, which he critiqued as being “nasty.” That’s a pretty descriptive adjective for a kid who has a limited vocabulary.

I glanced around at my kitchen, mixing bowls adorning my counters, flour settling into the black and brown granite, art strown all over the kitchen table, all the cushions off the sofa in the living room (my kids love to make their own “Wipeout” courses), and Nerf foam bullets scattered between both rooms. Long sigh ….

It’s amazing to me how much I have changed since I first became a stay-at-home mom. That mess would have sent the old me into panic mode. Don’t get me wrong; the chaos still bothers me, but I guess I’ve just learned to be more tolerant of it.

Out of all the “stuff” cluttering those two rooms that day, I found myself zeroing in on those Nerf bullets. My thoughts dominoed and once the dust had settled in my brain, I had come up with a pretty good speech game.

For those of you that are regular readers, you probably remember that my other two boys are older – eight and fourteen years old. Can you even begin to comprehend how many different types of Nerf guns and bullets you can accumulate over a period of about ten years? A LOT!

Although for a while I went on a kick where I was throwing away bullets every time I found one on the floor, now I don’t so much care. They only play with them once every couple of weeks and I have come to realize that they are a necessary evil if you’ve got young boys. You can’t escape them and if you don’t buy them, someone else will.

Jake is no exception to the rule. He loves playing Nerf guns with his brothers and so I decided to incorporate this fun activity with a few words that we’ve been practicing for far too long now.

I chose ten of the most difficult /p/ DIY flash cards and put double-sided tape on the back of them. Then, I put them on my stairs and let them hang as follows …


I asked Jake, “Which one do you want to get first?” He pointed one out, said the word three times, then fired. Once it was knocked down, I made him say, “I got (target word).”

My recommendation for this game would be to make sure you have a middle-of-the-road Nerf gun that holds 5-10 bullets and one that you have to cock before firing. Some of the battery operated ones will continuously fire; not such a good idea for the speech game.

We played this game on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and Jake enjoyed it both times. This is a perfect game to introduce if your child is getting bored with saying the same words day in and day out, but hasn’t yet mastered them.

10 thoughts on “Nerf Gun Speech Game

  1. Kristy A says:

    Very creative!! And yes, boys like their rough toys so all the more reason to add games to the therapy time! Great job! 🙂 And can he get any cuter? Love the “I’m ready for action” pic! Too cute!

    1. tstarmom says:

      Thanks Kristy! Yes, the pic cracked me up too. I didn’t even tell him to act a certain way, that was just the “pose” he chose. I’ll pray for the weather to cooperate for ya this weekend!

  2. Amy R. says:

    AWESOME idea! I’m going to try this! Maybe this would make Brayden a little interested in learning his letters 🙂

    1. tstarmom says:

      Thanks Amy! I’m sure you have plenty of Nerf guns floating around your house too. Best wishes tomorrow for Brayden’s first day of school. The school was so understanding about Jake & said I could always enroll him for 1/2 a year if I’d like. Time will tell …

  3. Elisa says:

    Hi, my name is Elisa I am a mother of three my childrens ages range from 7 to 7 months old. My 2 1/2 yr old little boy was just diagnosed with having speech apraxia, just this past Tuesday. When I was first told this I really had no idea what this meant, but after searching all night online just what this meant, I saw my dreams for him start to shatter, and my worries began to grow. I stumbled upon your blog as I continue my mad research for ways to help my little Noe find his voice, and I must admit that your blog has helped put me at ease,I know that this is a long journey that we are about to begin, and not an easy one. But I am glad to see that many other parents have been through what we are about to begin, I am happy to see the progress your son has made, and admire you for sharing his journey with all of us to learn and cheer him on with his accomplishments. I have vowed to be my Noe’s voice while I help guide him to find his own, and I too will be documenting his journey to help other parents know that there is hope, and to take it one day at a time. Thank you for sharing your son’s journey and helping this “mad” mother relax a little and know that there is hope 🙂

    1. tstarmom says:

      Hi Elisa! Thanks for stopping by. The good news is you got your diagnosis early & the sooner you start repetitive speech therapy for apraxia, the better. I didn’t get a diagnosis until Jake was three. Every little moment counts and I’m glad you found hope through my blog. It has been a lot of hard work, filled with many highs and lows, but I know eventually we will get there. When my son was 2 1/2, I wish I would have been told the following: 1.) Find a SLP with apraxia experience. 2.) Do Kaufman cards. 3.) Do hand prompts with sounds. They make the words come out so much easier. Best of luck to you in your journey and be sure to check out my beginning posts, which were about the first sounds that Jake learned to speak.

  4. Jessica says:

    My 24 month old son diagnost with oral apraxia today. Thanks for the wonderful blog. Everything has not sunk in yet but your boy is wonderful and gives me hope. Did he have trouble with eating? That is the priority for us now. He is struggling with chewing any food. We even tried crushed puffs and it makes him gag. He is still on pureed foods with no lumps. no real words at 24 months. he does say dada, u oh, and wow. Thats about all of his words. No mom yet :(….

  5. tstarmom says:

    Hi Jessica. So sorry to hear about your little one’s diagnosis today. Aren’t oral and verbal apraxia two similar, but different things? (Or, I guess if you have oral apraxia, you can also have verbal apraxia with it.) No, thank goodness Jake didn’t have any major problems with eating. He does have a lot of food allergies though & is overly picky (gags & almost throws up with certain foods). Does your son have food allergies? Keep the faith with hearing “mom” or “mama.” I had to wait until Jake was 3 to hear it, so just know that you are not alone. Acquiring words is a slow process that requires a lot of patience. Best of luck to you with the eating issues. Take care!

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