May is Better Speech & Hearing Month and Apraxia Awareness Month. Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a pediatric motor speech disorder in which children have difficulty with the planning and production of speech. While the focus for children with CAS is often on the production of sounds, studies have shown that children with previous spoken language difficulties may be at a higher risk for literacy difficulties because of the connection between spoken and written language.
Incorporating Phonological Awareness (PA) skills into therapy may help to combat this and build your students’ literacy skills. But let’s face it- many of our students have many goals that need targeting or we have large groups that can make it difficult to find activities where each student is getting what they need. Adding another thing to your list of things to do as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) can feel overwhelming. But incorporating PA skills into your speech and language sessions doesn’t have to be!
Here are some easy ways to incorporate PA this month to better support students in your school with a possible history of CAS.
Rhyming is one of the foundational steps in PA. It is a critical early skill that will help students as they make their way through their school years and beyond. Rhyming can also be an easy skill to work into your already planned speech and language sessions. Here are 3 ways to work rhyming into your sessions:
Alliteration is another skill that is key to literacy and language. Adding alliteration to your speech and language sessions can be a subtle way to instill PA skills for your students. Here are 3 quick ways to work alliteration into your sessions:
Lastly, blending sounds into words or breaking apart words into their individual sounds is another building block skill for reading and writing. These can also be incorporated quickly and easily into your already planned speech and language sessions. You can spend a set amount of time targeting these skills or you can choose one or two words a session to highlight phoneme blending or segmenting. Here are 3 engaging ways to slip extra phoneme practice into your sessions:
I hope that these ideas are helpful, not only during Apraxia Awareness Month but in the future when you come across a student with a history of CAS or another speech disorder struggling with reading.
These Phonological Awareness skills are things that you can incorporate into the lessons that you already have planned. Even just adding in a few minutes of the above activities can make a world of difference for a child with reading difficulties.
Happy Better Speech & Hearing Month!
Author: Noelle Scolieri, M.S. CF-SLP
Sources for introduction information: