3. Way to Speech

Srish’s Way to Speech

This is the process we followed through which my son acquired speech (LEARNT TO VERBALIZE AND FORM WORDS). This was our first step to speech. This write up is based on guidance given by our Speech Language Pathologist followed for my son.

  • Our program was methodical and goal driven.
  • Weekly targets were set and more often they were met. Else targets would be carried over till they were achieved.
  • We followed a strict ABA approach to acquire speech (producing words).
  • I made him sit at a level where he had good eye contact with me. I also made him sit where he could not run away from (on the dining table initially and later on the chair once he was settled).
  • We had 3 to 4 sessions in a day of 10 to 15 minutes duration each. I was advised by my SLP to do as many sessions but we kept a balance and did not overdo, instead maintained consistency.

After each partially or fully successful attempt by my son he was given an edible re enforcer (chocochips, few chips, chakli etc). So that he was not eating too many of them I would break them into tiny pieces (in advance) so that throughout the day he would not eat more than 4 to 5 chips or chocochips more than 1 small chocolate. We would change the re enforcer for each session. Re enforcers should be which the child really loves and should not be given at any other time apart from the sessions. Also re inforcers should be such that go away quickly else child may not want to part with it. Having said that re enforcers are to be faded as child masters a particular skill and the frequency of re enforcers decreases.

  1. First step was to teach him as many body parts. We started with a target of 5 body parts.

I told a body part like head and hold his hand and make him touch his head. I would say all the body parts in random and not in any specific order. So if I took 5 body parts – head, eyes, ears, nose and cheeks for week 1 I would tell them not following any sequence like eyes, nose, head, nose, cheeks, head, ears, head, eyes, cheeks so that each body part was covered at least 4 times in each session of 10 to 15 minutes.

After each attempt he was given a re enforcer.

Slowly, my son learnt the 5 body parts and I did not have to physically prompt him. He would show them himself when I took the name of the body part. In this way we taught him most of the body parts.

  1. When he knew nearly 90 percent of the body parts we moved to imitation of body parts.

I did not give any auditory instruction but moved to visual instructions only now.  I would touch my head and he was supposed to touch his head or his body part I would touch on my body. Initially I had to teach him imitation by taking his hand and putting on his head or other body parts. Imitation took us some time. The process was the same like step 1 where the body parts were randomly shown not following any sequence, duration and number of sessions were same and re enforcers were given after every attempt. The only difference was step 1 was auditory and step 2 was visual.

  1. Once imitation of body parts was at nearly 80 percent, my son started babbling (making some sounds). So we started teaching sounds.

I took a Hindi book and would make him repeat the entire syllables one by one (consonants blended with vowels) like ka, mee, say, ro, noo and so on. I would touch all syllables in the Hindi book taking 15 to 20 sounds in each session. No random order was followed picking any sound. The duration and number of sessions would remain same and re enforcers were carried on. Initially some children find it difficult to pronounce some sounds like r, s, f related. However, my son could pronounce all the sounds clearly.

  1. Once he mastered the sounds we moved to word formation by joining multiple sounds. Initially we kept it simple blending two sounds or three sound words like fee + sh = fish, pee + lo = pillow, ka + r = car, sa + ya + kal = cycle, au + to = auto. We took 5 objects initially.

I took three dimensional objects of these items to begin with and later moved to pictures. Every time I would show him an object/picture and say the words by breaking them up. He would repeat after me (if I would say ka he would repeat ka and then r where he would repeat r). When the card or object was shown it was to be placed near my mouth so that he could see the picture and simultaneously notice the word being said (paying attention to my lip movement). Duration and number of sessions and re enforcer were the same.

First word he said in front of our speech therapist on his own without prompts was auto. Later he would be shown the cards and he could name each picture in the card without any assistance. As he learnt each word, more words were introduced with a target of 4 to 6 words per week.

We moved from 3D objects to pictures. I made lot of pictures by downloading them from the internet and printing. Slowly he picked up 50 words in 6 months of starting speech therapy. After that I categorised all words learnt by him as per function. Eventually we stopped teaching him words with tabletop method after he learnt close to 500 words.

He started learning more words in daily routine and in school.

  1. Another process done simultaneously while learning words was identification of the objects visually and not verbally.

I would place a few picture cards in front of him (to begin with 3 and moved on till 25 at a time) and call out an object name. He would then give the called out object card to me.

We did several other activities like matching the cards, sorting of objects, arranging objects alternately (which one does in occupational therapy). Speech was a result of speech therapy and sensory integration activities too.

I made pictures on every category(his favourites, toys, clothes, food, beverage, furniture, utensils, school related, vehicles, animals, birds, nature related, rooms, toiletries, daily household items etc to name a few). Sharing some of the pictures (size: postcard size).

Copyright © 2016 Barnana Chakraborti

Life of a special one