Childhood Apraxia of Speech Goals

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder that affects a child’s ability to produce clear and accurate speech sounds. Children with CAS often struggle with planning and coordinating the movements required for speech. Treatment for CAS typically involves working with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) to develop a customized plan to address the specific needs of each child. Childhood apraxia of speech goals is an important part of this process, as it helps to establish a clear direction for therapy and measure progress. In this article, we will explore the importance of setting goals for CAS treatment and provide examples of goals across different areas of communication.

Establishing Goals for CAS Treatment

When it comes to treating Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), setting individualized goals is crucial for effective treatment. 

Goals help to provide a clear direction for therapy and allow both the speech-language pathologist (SLP) and the child/family to monitor progress. 

Here are some key points to keep in mind when establishing goals for CAS treatment:

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childhood apraxia of speech goals

Collaborate with the Child and Family

When setting goals, it’s important to collaborate with the child and family to ensure that they are on board with the objectives. 

This not only helps to establish a sense of ownership and motivation for the child but also ensures that the goals are achievable and align with the family’s priorities.

Set Specific and Measurable Goals

Goals should be specific and measurable so that progress can be tracked effectively. For instance, instead of setting a goal to “improve speech,” a more specific and measurable goal might be to “increase the number of clear consonant sounds produced during speech.”

Address Different Areas of Communication

CAS can affect various areas of communication, including speech, language, and social communication. 

When setting goals, it’s important to consider the specific needs of the child and address goals across these different areas.

Update Goals as Needed

Goals should be updated regularly to reflect progress and adjust for any changes in the child’s needs. This allows for a more personalized and effective approach to treatment.

childhood apraxia of speech goals

Motor-Speech Goals for CAS Treatment

Motor-speech goals are focused on improving the child’s ability to produce clear and accurate speech sounds. Here are some examples of motor-speech goals for Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) treatment:

Improving Articulation

Articulation goals focus on improving the accuracy of individual speech sounds. For instance, the goal might be for the child to produce the /k/ sound in the word “cat” more clearly. 

The SLP may use techniques such as repetition, cueing, and shaping to help the child achieve this goal.

Increasing Speech Intelligibility

Intelligibility goals aim to improve the overall clarity of the child’s speech. This might involve targeting specific sound errors that are affecting the child’s ability to be understood by others. 

The SLP may use strategies such as modeling, feedback, and visual aids to help the child achieve this goal.

Developing Speech Fluency

Fluency goals focus on improving the child’s ability to speak smoothly and without hesitation. This may involve targeting issues such as stuttering or dysfluency. 

The SLP may use techniques such as a slow rate of speech, breathing exercises, and desensitization to help the child achieve this goal.

Language Goals for CAS Treatment

Children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) may also experience difficulties with language, including vocabulary, sentence structure, and comprehension. Here are some examples of language goals for CAS treatment:

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childhood apraxia of speech goals

Building Vocabulary

Vocabulary goals focus on increasing the child’s ability to understand and use words. This might involve targeting specific categories of words, such as colors, animals, or actions. 

The SLP may use techniques such as visual aids, repetition, and categorization to help the child achieve this goal.

Improving Sentence Structure

Sentence structure goals aim to improve the child’s ability to use grammatically correct sentences. 

This might involve targeting issues such as word order, verb tense, and subject-verb agreement. The SLP may use strategies such as modeling, feedback, and sentence-building exercises to help the child achieve this goal.

Enhancing Language Comprehension

Comprehension goals focus on improving the child’s ability to understand spoken language. This might involve targeting issues such as following directions, answering questions, and identifying important details in a story. 

The SLP may use techniques such as visual aids, repetition, and comprehension exercises to help the child achieve this goal.

Social Communication Goals for CAS Treatment

In addition to motor-speech and language goals, children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) may also experience difficulties with social communication, including the ability to engage in conversation and understand social cues. 

Here are some examples of social communication goals for CAS treatment:

Improving Conversation Skills

Conversation goals focus on improving the child’s ability to initiate and maintain conversations. This might involve targeting issues such as turn-taking, topic maintenance, and nonverbal communication. 

The SLP may use strategies such as role-playing, video modeling, and social stories to help the child achieve this goal.

childhood apraxia of speech goals

Enhancing Social Interaction

Social interaction goals aim to improve the child’s ability to interact with others in a socially appropriate way. 

This might involve targeting issues such as eye contact, personal space, and understanding social cues. The SLP may use techniques such as social skills training, peer modeling, and visual aids to help the child achieve this goal.

Developing Pragmatic Language Skills

Pragmatic language goals focus on improving the child’s ability to use language in social contexts. 

This might involve targeting issues such as using an appropriate tone of voice, understanding sarcasm and figurative language and making inferences. 

The SLP may use strategies such as role-playing, video modeling, and direct instruction to help the child achieve this goal.

Other Goals for CAS Treatment

In addition to motor-speech, language, and social communication goals, there may be other areas that children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) need to work on. Here are some examples of other goals for CAS treatment:

Improving Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness goals focus on improving the child’s ability to recognize and manipulate the sounds in words. 

This might involve targeting issues such as rhyming, blending, and segmenting sounds. The SLP may use techniques such as phonemic awareness games, sound blending and segmenting activities, and visual aids to help the child achieve this goal.

childhood apraxia of speech goals

Enhancing Literacy Skills

Literacy goals aim to improve the child’s ability to read and write. This might involve targeting issues such as letter-sound correspondence, decoding skills, and sight-word recognition. 

The SLP may use strategies such as phonics instruction, word study activities, and guided reading to help the child achieve this goal.

Developing Executive Functioning Skills

Executive functioning goals focus on improving the child’s ability to plan, organize, and complete tasks. This might involve targeting issues such as time management, task initiation, and self-monitoring. 

The SLP may use techniques such as goal setting, visual schedules, and self-reflection to help the child achieve this goal.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a complex speech disorder that requires a comprehensive treatment approach. 

Establishing specific and measurable goals for treatment is essential to help children with CAS make progress in their communication skills. 

Motor-speech goals may focus on improving speech production, while language goals may focus on improving vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension. 

Social communication goals aim to improve a child’s ability to interact effectively with others, while other goals may focus on improving phonological awareness, literacy skills, and executive functioning.

It’s important to note that goals should be tailored to the individual child’s needs and may be adjusted or changed over time based on their progress. 

Family involvement and collaboration with other professionals, such as teachers and occupational therapists, are also essential components of successful CAS treatment.

FAQs

What causes Childhood Apraxia of Speech?

The cause of CAS is unknown, but research suggests that it may be related to neurological differences in the brain.

How is CAS diagnosed?

CAS is typically diagnosed by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) through a thorough evaluation of a child’s speech and language skills.

What does CAS therapy involve?

CAS therapy may involve a combination of approaches, including motor-speech therapy, language therapy, social communication therapy, and other interventions.

Can CAS be cured?

There is no cure for CAS, but with early and intensive therapy, children with CAS can make significant progress in their communication skills.

What is the role of parents in CAS treatment?

Parents play a crucial role in CAS treatment by participating in therapy sessions, providing support and encouragement, and practicing therapy techniques at home.

How can I find a qualified SLP for my child with CAS?

Parents can consult with their child’s pediatrician or contact their local speech-language pathology clinic to find a qualified SLP with experience in treating CAS.

Medical References:

  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2017). Childhood Apraxia of Speech [Technical Report].
  • Bashir, A. S. (2017). Childhood apraxia of speech: An overview. Journal of Pediatric Neurosciences, 12(1), 1–4.
  • Murray, E., McCabe, P., & Ballard, K. (2014). A systematic review of treatment outcomes for children with childhood apraxia of speech. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 23(3), 486–504.
  • Shriberg, L. D., Potter, N. L., & Strand, E. A. (2011). Prevalence and phenotype of childhood apraxia of speech in youth with galactosemia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 54(2), 487–519.
  • ASHA Practice Portal. (n.d.). Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/Practice-Portal/Clinical-Topics/Childhood-Apraxia-of-Speech/

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