preschooler playing pretendAs I have said before, I think many children are labeled apraxic prematurely. Often I will say to a parent that their child is apraxic-like, meaning he or she appears to be having some motor programming difficulty with speech and finds it difficult to imitate at the appropriate age.

With the 2 year-olds that are referred to me who have very few words that might appear and then be gone, I have found an effective way to “get them going” in a therapy session. If they have a word or two that seem easy for them to produce such as “ball” or “dog,” then begin with those words. Plan an activity where you can use the word in many different ways through play so the child has an opportunity to be successful and get his vocal mechanism going. I even tell parents to help “warm up” their child in the morning before they are going off to preschool and they seem to talk more and be more successful.

Yesterday I used a little push-activated toy, a dump truck, that we kept making and putting play-doh balls into as we made it go across the table. Every little activity with a ball was an opportunity for success.