Tactile cues for speech production

The speech production of a child with autism can severely affect if the child also has apraxia. They have difficulty in imitating single oral movements than typical children. We can use tactile cues to the existing therapy techniques to improve their speech cues.  This will help them to recognize, develop and integrate their cognition, language and motor behavior. Speech is also a motor behavior where the articulators are moving with a coordinated way. Imitation is a basic aspect of language development. In order to work on imitation skills we can co ordinate the auditory and tactile cues together.  Whenever we produce a word we can also manipulate their lips, jaw and other speech mechanisms. Since the lip and jaw movements are more visible, let us start from this.

We can work with their requesting skills.  Initially to make them sounds we can use their interesting toys. Then we can relate a consistent speech gesture to requesting.  We should start with vowels and then consonants.  For example if the child wants an item (ball), let them produce a vowel first.  We should physically manipulate their jaw while we producing the sound ‘a’or ‘o’.  If the child can produce the vowel each time successfully with requesting we can add a consonant like  ‘ba’ with manipulation of lips and jaw. As child get improve their production with tactile cues,  we can gradually fade the physical prompt and only provide visual cues.  Later reduce all prompts and make them to produce sounds by their own.  Gradually we can move from syllables to words and sentences according to child’s response.

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