Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Addressing Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia

The more we continue Emma's neuroplasticity program, the more aware we become of her motor planning issues particularly related to speech. 

Emma has a few words but speaks mainly in approximations. Most words or phrases are so unclear not even I understand them. She has the desire to communicate and makes frequent attempts to use language but nothing recognisable comes out. She understands the rhythm of language perfectly and will imitate syllables but cannot make the correct speech sounds.  She also gets 'stuck' on the motor plan of particular sounds.

The word used to describe these symptoms is Dyspraxia. It basically means a problem in the area of the brain responsible for motor planning and coordination. Dyspraxia affects physical movement but can also impact movement required for speech. 

So what are we doing? 

Oral Motor Therapy

NACD provides us with oral motor exercises we do twice daily. These exercises involve trigeminal stimulation (massage), facial stimulation, mouth stimulation as well as various chewing and tongue exercises. 

We use chewy tubes and a myomunchee as part of our therapy. 

We also use ipad apps such as speech therapy for apraxia to work on specific sounds and we do lots of face-to-face work so that Emma can see the correct lip, teeth and tongue movement needed for particular sounds. I continually reinforce the initial sound of words e.g b-b-b-ball, g-g-g-girl. 

Bio-med Dyspraxia Protocol

We have just begun this protocol created by Kelly Dorfmann whose research looks at how different types of fat affect the brain.

It includes three key supplements

All supplements need to be given at the same time as they work together. 

Music Therapy

As a music therapist, I incorporate lots of music into our program.

I use drumming techniques to help develop Emma develop a strong sense of internal rhythm which is important for speech and language development. 

We also use familiar songs to develop speech and language leaving out the ends of phrases for her to fill in. e.g "Twinkle Twinkle little -----". This is a music therapy technique that many speech therapists use due to its effectiveness. Parents can easily incorporate this technique into their daily lives. 

Dyspraxia is one piece in the puzzle for Emma - but we look forward with hope to the day that all the pieces fit together!

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