Jump to content


How do you teach a child with verbal apraxia?

Recommended Posts

My 3 sons have severe verbal apraxia. One is almost 6. The other two are 4 &3. Well my son has to be in school according to the state of mi at the age of 6. He is extremely smart ( not being bias but even his speech teacher says he is way smarter then his age) but he can hardly talk at all. And what he does you can barely understand. I'm doing phonics pathways with him just a few of the blends b,p,t,m and n. We are working on the same ones as the speech teacher. We have a long way before we are done with speech.

But my question is " How do I teach him?" Public or private school are not options. I know in reading he will be delayed. Grammar Im planning First language lessons. But Is there a hands on learning to read program? So he could show me the word instead of trying to say all the words. Like having letter cards and he could put blends together I say or word cards so he can put sentences together I say.


In math he is really struggling in Saxon. Counting aloud is almost impossible and flashcards are useless. He does good with manipulatives. I was thinking of Math u see with him.


History and science we just do books with him.


I'm not worried about attitude. He loves to learn. But he needs to learn a lot with out verbalizing. So what did you use that worked?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to jump in here with what I have do e for ds9 and dd5. They were verbalizing though at six, and even though they are not dyslexic I worked on them assuming that they were.


To start off with, lots and lots of work on the 71 phonograms. Build it into any game tat you can. Make videos of it. Doesn't matter if he can pronounce it, as long as you know what he is trying to say. Get him to clap out syllables. Work out how many sounds are in each word and syllable.


I'll write more later, but got To go do a winery tour now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use a combination of SWR and webster's. The phonograms from swr are the main starting point. When I was doing speech, I would make due it was written down. Wheni was doing phonics, I incorporated speech sounds we were doing at the time. Neither were isolated. Webster's syllabalry is far easier than words for a dyspraxic kiddo.


Once you've got the syllables and phonograms perfectly learnt, and the rules, mastered clapping out syllables and sounds (even if you say the word for him) then you can move on slowly. If he can write, great, otherwise use letter tiles or cards. Say 'it' and have him spell it out. Etc etc. Try and think of vc or cv words that use the few sounds he can make or his target sounds first. Move on to cvc.


It is really important NEvER To do sight anything. Remember that these kids if they overlearn phonics and phonetics, as well as spelling rules and syllable rules, can actually use the written language to guide them in correct



Best of luck, if you want more details, ask me. Have a read of eluzabethb's threads on webster's. This can be adapted really well to a dyspraxic kid as syllables are easier than words to pronounce.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My ds had speech therapy for a severe articulation delay. I bought Hooked on Phonics for him when he was around 4 or 5 to help him with his speech sounds and to learn to read. The routine of working with the sound/word cards along with the tapes worked really well for him.

My dd's speech problems were less severe but still required some speech therapy, and she also learned to read with Hooked on Phonics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mom2agang, have you pursued a speech evaluation with them? Have they been doing speech therapy? Have you looked at PROMPT? Traditional speech therapy is not always effective for verbal apraxia. If they've done traditional speech therapy and still aren't talking, you need to pursue PROMPT. http://www.promptinstitute.com You can contact them for a list of SLP's in your area who do it. In our state there are several who have done the workshops and one who has gotten certified. She is in fact the only person for several states around who is certified, meaning people come from all over to use her. I drive 2 1/2 hours. But literally she could help my ds talk the first day! I know she had a dc age 5 come in who was entirely non-verbal when he started. The family lived too far away for weekly sessions, so they came in and did intensive work for two weeks. The child left talking and months later was continuing to progress. So you may have more options. PROMPT teaches you how to help them, so you'll be able to continue at home.


Also, are you doing sign? Sign language works the same language part of the brain. In speech therapy our SLP blends speech and sign. If you haven't done any, I would begin immediately. Our library has many of the Signing Time dvd's, and I was able to get the entire set (32) on amazon used for $150. It would definitely be worth looking into. I would call it school and begin working through them. You'll have to sit with them and watch the videos to be able to understand when they use the signs.


PROMPT is a very efficient form of therapy, requiring only one session per week (and natural carryover into the home). With the number of kids you have, efficiency is an issue. But when you have a therapy that is SO effective, it would be worth the effort.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keep in mind, this is just what worked for MY son...


Lots of speech therapy with a speech pathologist, for starters. He graduated from it at about the age of 11. He had sever oral motor apraxia and we had been told to give up on him - but didn't. He can still be slushy and we have to remind him to ennunciate and speak slowly and clearly, but most people don't really notice.


As for school, we did not do phonics. I know this is blasphemy around here - but phonics did absolutely nothing for him at all. He is dyslexic and dysgraphic (all of his issues originating in a frontal lobe neural defect).

As soon as we switched away from phonics, his reading skills skyrocketed. He is a superb reader now and extremely fast.


I think part of the problem with kids with dyspraxia/dyslexia/ etc is that many have these problems for different reasons. For example, I think my son's failure with phonics was because his dyslexia and dyspraxia was due to an acutal physical defect. Other's may not be, or may be in a different part of the brain.


Be flexible. DO NOT believe that there is only one way, and do not assume that what works for one will work for yours. It's all trial and error.


Remember, you have plenty of time. I didn't figure out what really worked for my son until the 3rd grade, and he is above grade level now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am tutoring a boy with speech apraxia.


Webster's Speller and my syllable division rules and exercises have been very helpful for him. He still has troubles with some phonograms like ou and blends, but he can sound out 3 syllable Latin words very well!


The other day, he lamented "I can read the 8th grade words fine, it's just the 1st and second grade words I have trouble with."


Every facet of language has to be explicitly taught for him, Webster's is helpful for that. Diacritical markings are also helpful for him, my UPP is good and also CLE (Although the pace of CLE was too much for him at first, but now that he has progressed a bit, it is good.)


His mom did speech therapy with him that sounds like it was prompt, that was helpful, he first speech therapist that did not know the best way to work with apraxia did not help at all.


Also, all my students work best in small bits with breaks, but he literally needs a break after 10 to 20 minutes, you can see him drooping and that it takes all his energy. Small sessions throughout the day are best. He also needs a lot of review.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was just reading an article in Scientific American Mind magazine about the brain droop with such hard usage. In animal studies they found giving them food with periods of intense brain usage brought the glucose (and hence function) back up. We eat snacks, but I've thought of even doing more with nibblers during our hard stuff. No wonder we did so much with marshmallows during our VT homework!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...