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How I use Speech Sound Cue Cards in Apraxia Therapy

Dec 13, 2023

One of the most important aspects of treatment for childhood apraxia of speech is multi-sensory cueing.  That includes auditory / verbal, tactile and visual cues.  Todays post will focus on how I use speech sound cue cards as a visual cue to elicit sounds and words in apraxia therapy.

Many followers on Instagram often ask me about the ideal age to use speech sound cue cards for children. The answer lies not in a specific age, but rather in the child's cognitive readiness to connect the pictures with sounds. The best way to determine a child's readiness is by trying it out. By constantly exposing them to the cue cards as part of their apraxia treatment, they will gradually learn to identify and associate the cards with their corresponding sounds.

As with any cues, each child responds differently, and you need to have many cues that you can try and see what works for that child.  My speech sound cue cards are a staple in most of my therapy sessions and the impact has been tremendous.  I use them with my verbal model to cue the target word and when the child is ready I can fade my verbal model and just show the cue card. 

To promote generalization, reducing the use of cues is crucial in therapy. Cue cards can be a beneficial tool to facilitate the process.  Additionally, I use them to highlight the difference between the error sound and the target sound, making it easier for the child to identify and correct their mistakes.

I recently had the pleasure of working with Michele from @slp.madness to update her sound cue cards for young children. The redesigned cards are engaging without being overwhelming. Each card features picture cues on one side and a mouth cue on the other. The mouth cue has proved to be particularly helpful, as it has motivated my clients to improve their lip movement. Here is a link  to find out more about these sound cue cards. You can use the code BONDAR15 for 15% off any resource on Michele's website.

The primary deficit in childhood apraxia of speech, is sequencing the movements to move from one sound to the next.  It is therefore important to show the child all the sounds in the word.  I have several different ways to connect the cards together.  I have magnets on the back of the cards and put them on a wipe off board, I copy the cards and laminate them as a whole word or I place them together in a plastic picture frame.  I can then use my finger to point and move from one sound to the next as we say the sounds together in simultaneous productions.

Here is a link showing how I used speech sound cue cards with a child with limited attention.

Here is a link  showing how I used speech sound cue cards along with gestural and metaphorical cues to elicit correct production of the unvoiced /th/ sound.


Free Target Selection Handout for CAS

Learn how to choose target words for minimally verbal children, understand

multisensory cueing, and other do's and don'ts in apraxia therapy.