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SPARC® for Childhood Apraxia of Speech
Ages: 3-12   Grades: PreK-7

Based on current treatment research, these materials readily adapt to the therapy approach you use for your students with CAS.

Outcomes

  • Produce phonemes from different classes of sounds in increasingly longer utterances
  • Improve intelligibility of speech
  • Learn/reinforce meaningful vocabulary
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SPARC for Childhood Apraxia of Speech incorporates functional words, organized in groups based on sound production, to keep students motivated.

Individualize therapy by selecting the sounds that have the greatest effect on intelligibility.  Each phoneme includes:

  • warm-up exercises – the target sound combined with short and long vowels in CV, VC, CVCV, and VCVC syllables
  • words with illustrations
  • phrases with illustrations
  • short sentences with illustrations
  • 2- to 3-syllable words with illustrations – the target sound is shown in all word positions
  • generalization activities with illustrations

SPARC for Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a pick-up-and-use therapy material that has ample opportunities for successful verbalization.  It easily adapts to your technique and your students' needs.

Copyright © 2013

Components
261 reproducible pages
  • Increased frequency and practice of target speech sounds lead to better performance and greater generalization (Edeal & Gildersleeve-Neumann, 2011).
  • Mass practice supports initial learning of a motor skill while distributed practice supports generalization of learned behaviors (Hall, Jordan, & Robin, 2007; Strand & Skinder, 1999).  SPARC for Childhood Apraxia of Speech supports this practice by first practicing one sound in drill and then practicing multiple sounds on the carryover pages.
  • Repetitive practice is an integral component of treatment for clients with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS).  One of the fundamental principles of motor learning is the need for a large number of repetitions of the same behavior in the same context (Hall et al., 2007).
  • Speech sound intervention should facilitate correct productions across word positions and linguistic units (Bernthal & Bankson, 2004).

SPARC for Childhood Apraxia of Speech incorporates these principles and is based on expert professional practice.

References

Bernthal, J.E., & Bankson, N.W. (2004). Articulation and phonological disorders. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Edeal, D.M, & Gildersleeve-Neumann, C. (2011). The importance of production frequency in therapy for childhood apraxia of speech. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20, 95-110. doi: 10.1044/1058-0360(2011/09-0005)

Hall, P., Jordan, L., & Robin, D. (2007). Developmental apraxia of speech: Theory and clinical practice (2nd ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Strand, E., & Skinder, A. (1999). Treatment of developmental apraxia of speech: Integral stimulation methods. In A. Caruso & E. Strand (Eds.), Clinical management of motor speech disorders in children (pp. 109-148). New York, NY: Thieme.

Author(s)

LinguiSystems

Introduction

SPARC for Childhood Apraxia of Speech is for 3- to 12-year-old children with speech delays.  This SPARC-formatted therapy tool presents stimulus pictures and activities organized by manner of production.  Unit activities systematically progress from syllables to words, phrases, sentences, 2- and 3-syllable words, and story retell.  Target sounds are arranged by position (initial, final, and medial).  Words with reoccurring positions are presented in order of difficulty.

Select your student's target sounds.  Consider the following factors when selecting the target sounds and contexts for practice:

  • your student's existing sound repertoire
  • his stimulability for the sound
  • consistent vs. inconsistent errors
  • the target sound's overall effect on his intelligibility

For more detailed information, see the Treatment Program for Childhood Apraxia of Speech (2010) by Karen Czarnik.

Use the level of modeling most aligned with your student's needs.  You may use picture stimuli with little to no modeling to achieve a spontaneous response.  Other students may benefit from a delayed model or require an immediate model with elicited imitation.  Document your student's required levels of prompting to show progress.

Each of the 22 target sounds presented in SPARC for Childhood Apraxia of Speech contains the following activities.  Words for each target sound will not be duplicated in the word, phrase, sentence, and 2- to 3- syllable activities, but some words will be repeated at the story level.

 

Warm-Up Exercises
These exercises, which can be used as warm-up or building block exercises, target syllables in CV, VC, CVCV, and VCVC combinations.  The student page for the warm-up exercises has two rows of five squares.  The top row contains the long vowel sounds, and the bottom row contains the short vowel sounds.

Have your student select a character or vehicle game piece from the book, or allow him to choose a small, movable toy for these exercises.  Tell him to place his game piece on the art underneath the first square in the top row and say the first CV syllable (e.g., /be/).  The student will then move his game piece to the right, pausing underneath each square to say the appropriate CV syllable (e.g., /bi/, 'bye', /bo/, and /bu/).  Once he reaches the final square in the row and says the final CV syllable, tell him to turn his game piece around.  Then instruct him to say the first VC syllable (e.g., /ub/).  The student will then move his game piece to the left, pausing underneath each square to say the appropriate VC syllable (e.g., /ob/, 'eyeb', /ib/, and /eb/).  Follow this same procedure for the short vowels and the CVCV and VCVC combinations.

 

CVC/CVCV Words
CVC and CVCV words contain the target phoneme in the initial, final, or medial word position.  Some clinicians find beginning with voiceless, inconsistent errors has the biggest positive impact on their students' intelligibility (Czarnik, 2003, page 18).

After choosing your target sound, begin in the top, left corner of the picture page and move from left to right.  Pause at each picture and ask the student to label what he sees.  Some students may be able to spontaneously label the pictures with clear articulation; others may need a model to produce an imitation.

A written word list is located on the opposite page.

 

CVC/CVCV Phrases
Remain consistent with your student's target sound.  Begin at the top, left corner of the picture page, and move from left to right.  Ask the student to label what he sees.  Choose the most appropriate level of modeling, and practice the phrases on the opposite page to support your student's motor planning.  Some students will be able to generate a spontaneous description while others will require a delayed or an immediate model.

 

Short Sentences
The short sentence level allows for repetitive practice and generalization within lengthier contexts.  Begin at the top, left corner of the picture page, and move from left to right.  Ask the student to label what he sees.  Choose the most appropriate level of modeling, and practice the sentences on the opposite page to support your student's motor planning.

 

2- and 3-Syllable Words
Choose your level of modeling and practice these multisyllabic words to increase your student's speech clarity for complex movement sequences.

 

Story Retell
The story retell level comes at the end of each unit.  It consists of two illustrated stories that bombard the student with all of the targeted sounds presented in the unit.  All targeted sounds are underlined within the story text.

Assist your student with generalization of his targeted sounds using these stories and picture scenes.  Read each story to your younger students as you point to the associated pictures.  Then have the student retell the story using the pictures as visual reminders.  Older students may read each story silently and then retell it aloud using the pictures to assist them with their narration.

Use these guidelines to get started.  We're sure you'll develop many more therapy ideas along the way!

 

References

Caruso, A., & Strand, E.A. (1999). Clinical management of motor speech disorders in children. New York, NY: Thieme.

Czarnik, K. (2010). Treatment program for childhood apraxia of speech. East Moline, IL: LinguiSystems, Inc.

Hall, P., Jordan, L., & Robin, D. (2007). Developmental apraxia of speech: Theory and clinical practice (2nd ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Lof, G. (2004). Confusion about speech sound norms and their use. Seminar presented at the On-Line Language Conference. Retrieved from Austin, TX: Thinking Publications. 

Powell, T. (1991). Planning for phonological generalization: Approach to treatment target selection. Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 1(1), 21-28.

Velleman, S. (2003). Childhood apraxia of speech: Resource guide. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning.