The goal of speech therapy sessions during our intensive programs varies based on each child’s needs, but fundamentals are the same

Stacia Paganelli

Functional Communication at Key to CP

Speech and language therapy at Key to CP has many variations and is based on your child’s individual needs.

We have many children who have come for physical therapy services and are non-verbal. Many of them have never been introduced to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in any form, whether it might be static picture cards or a simple speech-generating device (SGD). Others have been introduced to simple signs such as “more” and “all done”, but home teams have failed to move them beyond those generic words/signs. Expanding your child’s expressive language skills is key to unlocking their potential. Discovering their intent, understanding, and humor are just a few of the benefits of incorporating AAC at any stage of the game.

There are many myths about the use of AAC (check out this helpful article for more information). My role as a communication coach is to help show you and your child the  endless possibilities through the use of pictures or simple SGD button that provides your child with a voice which can be heard across settings. Targeting vocabulary that is meaningful and relevant to the child is critical and parents are the most important team members in that respect. Teaching specific vocabulary is also important as “more” is so often overgeneralized to indicate “I want _____”, “more _____”, “eat”, and many other words that should be taught instead. As always, a multidisciplinary approach is used to help identify your child’s specific visual and motor needs to ensure appropriate access to any AAC strategy.

To check out a case study highlighting a functional communication approach using AAC at Key to CP, click here.

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