Thursday, July 18, 2013

CHAMP Camp Day 3

Camp Day 3 started a little interesting, as the kiddo was very quiet this morning and didn't want to eat much breakfast.  I figured it was because he was so exhausted from such intensive therapy.  But lo and behold, walking to the metro he got sick all over himself, and then instantly seemed to perk up and was happy again.  Luckily I had an extra shirt for the kiddo in my bag, so we were able to clean ourselves up and get to the Speech and Hearing Center for camp pretty quickly.

He was awesome during camp.  Ms. Katie said it was the best day yet.  He continued working on his functional words, saying you and me for turn-taking, saying uh oh (a big deal as it's a vowel change which he doesn't do very well, he tends to repeat the sounds in words, such as mama rather than mommy and baba rather than bubble).  I was able to snap a photo of the kiddo in small group, having a snack with his friends and their clinicians.  He also got to go on an egg hunt and each egg contained inside of it one of the words he is working on.  He definitely had fun with that, as well as playing with some water toys and play-dough with Ms. Katie and Ms. Jodi.

The parent session was awesome today.  A few of the things I learned/realized I need to be doing more with the kiddo:

  • Provide feedback as to how the kiddo's sounds/words are coming out.  Kiddos with apraxia aren't always aware of the sounds that are coming out of their mouths, and so they need to be told what they did say and what they should be saying.  We also talked about how videotaping the kiddos saying certain words or phrases and then having them hear it is great for them to realize how they sound and what they need to work on.
  • Focus on language just as much as speech.  We learned a few strategies for helping kiddo with this, such as showing two flashcards of words we know they can say and asking a question about it.  (Ex: ball and book: which one do you read?  Which one is red?)
  • Continue to increase the expectations.  Up the game.  If the kiddo can say words, then put the words in two or three word phrases.  If he can do that then put them in longer phrases.  Then start adding adjectives.  Keep increasing the expectations.  
  • Have the kiddo repeat the word correctly, or closer to correctly each time.  It's so easy to praise the child for their attempt, and praise is good, but accepting the word incorrectly will make the incorrect word stick with them.  As they say, practice makes permanent, and we want correct pronunciation to be permanent, so we need to fine tune the sounds and words he says to make them the habit.
  • Encourage their progress while pushing them toward correct pronunciation.  Instead of saying "you said it right/wrong or correct/incorrect" encourage instead "the old way of saying it was ____, but now we're going to say it the new way, which is ___."  This is much more encouraging to them and makes them want to say it "the new way", rather than feeling defeated that they can't say it correctly.
  • Using PROMPT/hand cues really helps the kiddos with motor planning.  Basically, it's using a visual cue, or touching their mouth in a certain way to remind them of how they are supposed to position their mouth to say part of a word.  For example, to get the kiddo to say "me" the PROMPT hand cue is pointer and middle finger across the lips for the 'm' sound, and thumb and pointer finger on each end of the smile for the 'e' sound.  It really does work well for kiddo--every time Ms. Katie does the cues on his lips, he comes right out with "Mmmm-eeee!"  :)  But just telling him to say "me" he sometimes says it correctly, sometimes he does not, and sometimes he doesn't say anything at all.  I'm going to have to look into PROMPT a lot more later on as it seems to really be helping.
The tired kiddo with Ms. Katie
Anyway, it's been fabulous talking to parents who have experienced such similar things we have.  Tomorrow is our last day, and there will also be a graduation for the kiddos.  Can't wait to learn more tomorrow, and yet I'm sad it's almost over...

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