Apraxia of Speech is a motor speech disorder which results in poor coordination of oral-motor movements required to produce and combine speech sounds. Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a neurologic motor speech disorder that is idiopathic in nature and unrelated to muscle weakness or strength. Children with apraxia present with significant difficulty producing sounds, syllables, and words secondary to poor motor planning and sequencing. One of the treatment methodologies used at NSPT is to implement the Kaufman Method. This treatment strategy was developed by Nancy Kaufman, M.A. CCC-SLP, who is a leading expert in the treatment of children with developmental apraxia of speech.
The Kaufman Method varies from traditional articulation and phonological techniques in that it teaches sound approximations using a specific hierarchy. Children are taught word approximations first, in order to help reinforce their ability to successfully increase motor coordination. Once the basic patterns have been mastered, more complex consonants and syllables are introduced. The teaching hierarchy is similar to how children first acquire language, as words are simplified, and more complex consonants and syllables are initially omitted. For example, the word “banana” may first be produced by a young child as “nuh,” then “nuh-nuh,” and “na-nuh.” As they master the ability to sequence more difficult sounds and syllable shapes, the word will eventually sound like the whole word, “banana.” This approach is suitable for children of varying ages and skill levels since it allows them to systematically build upon the approximations they have or are learning in order to begin using true words more consistently. The Kaufman Method also implements specific cues in order to maximize the child’s expressive vocabulary and help increase functional speech sound production.
Your speech-language pathologist will develop a specific treatment plan for your child, so that your family can help improve functional skills in the home environment and reinforce what is being addressed during the treatment sessions.