Fort Myers speech therapy

Fort Myers Speech Therapy Insight: Strategies We Use to Help Your Child Talk

Our Fort Myers speech therapy team has many strategies to help children learn important speech and language skills.

So much of it is creating opportunities and encouraging practice in a fun, play-based atmosphere. Some examples include:

  • Putting things just out of reach, to encourage the child to ask for it.
  • Provide only part of a game to play with, and encourage them to ask for other pieces.
  • Pretend to be forgetful. Let the child “catch us” being forgetful or getting an answer wrong – the love to be helpful so we can get it right!
  • Pause during an activity that is predictable. It could be singing a favorite song or game and just pause. This encourages them to retrieve and use their vocabulary.

Using the PROMPT Strategy

There are times when oral motor facial muscles are the primary issue impeding speech.

PROMPT is an acronym that means, “Prompts for Reconstructing Oral Muscular-Phonetic Targets.” It’s a great strategy that we use for kids who are partly or totally non-verbal. It could also be a good way to mix it up with kids whose articulation delays are mild. Some of the motor speech and language disorders for which PROMPT is very effective include:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Apraxia of Speech
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Aphasia
  • Dysarthria
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Repaired Cleft Lip and Palate

Lots of us take talking for granted. The reality is that making speech sounds is a complex motor skill requiring very precise control, coordination and movement throughout the facial muscles and other parts of the mouth necessary for speech production.

The PROMPT strategy, when used consistently over many months of speech therapy, has been shown to help kids eventually produce these sounds independently. That’s because PROMPT involves the constant guidance of facial muscles and other mouth parts to physically move the child’s mouth so they can form speech correctly. We use physical touch to guide the patient’s facial muscle movements so that they are able to create the exact sound. Over time, kids’ brains learn how to move so that they can make these sounds on their own. This improves the child’s speech acoustics and intelligibility, with the goal being ultimately that others can better understand what they’re saying.

The technique we use in PROMPT is the use of touch cues (technically known as tactile-kinesthetic information) to guide the muscles in the jaw, tongue, and lips to create the speech sounds we’re targeting. We can use numerous variations of the technique, depending on the sound we’re targeting. The technique helps with more than just single speech sounds; it helps us work on full words, phrases, and sentences.

PROMPT can be tailored to the individual needs of each child, depending on their abilities.

Other Tactics Our Fort Myers Speech Therapy Team Uses

Other examples of tactics we use that you can practice at home:

  • Imitation. If your child is making noises, play sounds, or even just banging on the table with a fork, do the same. When we imitate kids’ sounds, words, or actions, it demonstrates to them that they’re being heard and that communication gets a positive reaction.
  • Interpret. If your child is pointing to the milk that he wants to drink, that is a means of communication. We can take it to the next level by interpreting it. Say, “Milk! You want your milk.”
  • Comment and describe. Instead of directing your child about what they should do, be a commentator. “Yes, that is a red truck!” “Now you are crawling behind the couch.” Use stress syllables to highlight the words or sounds on which you want your child to focus.
  • Avoid negative talk. We all respond best to positive phrasing. Avoid, “the sky isn’t pink,” and instead say, “the sky is blue.”
  • Label things. Even if kids aren’t ready to use their words yet, you can help them begin by labeling everything in their environment – from soap to snacks to activities.

If you have any questions about the strategies our pediatric speech therapists use or those you can practice at home, we can help!

FOCUS offers pediatric speech therapy in Fort Myers and throughout Southwest Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.

Additional Resources:

Helping Toddlers With Language Skills, Child Mind Institute

More Blog Entries:

Speech Therapists: Say ‘Sayonara’ to the Sippy Cup! Sept. 4, 2021, Fort Myers Speech Therapy Blog

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