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SLP Mommy of Apraxia: Grouchy ladybug activity for easy repetition practice for apraxia.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grouchy ladybug activity for easy repetition practice for apraxia.

I have a little secret.  I'm a speech/language pathologist, but at times, I'm artistically challenged.  I
 can't tell you how many times my kids have laughed at my pictures.  I do think back to grade school and I remember getting mad about art activities telling my teachers I would never need to use art EVER in the real world.

Oh life sure has a sense of humor!

Being artistically challenged however, doesn't mean I am creatively challenged!  With apraxia of speech, you have to get creative.  Unfortunately, there are two facts about apraxia that can be challenging.

Fact # 1
Apraxia requires therapy based on motor learning theory (ASHA, 2007).  This means that children require a few therapy targets per session while hitting A LOT of repetitions.  This is what is referred to as "mass" practice.

Fact # 2
Having to say multiple repetitions is not always *fun.*

These two don't really go together, but it's up to the SLP to make it fun with a little creativity!

This doesn't mean I'm not guilty of busting out the cards and doing drills; however, I really try not to do this very often.  At most, I use this as a warm up.  Kids quickly tire of articulation cards and lose motivation.  It happened to my daughter.  Her initial sessions were set up with 15 minutes of drill and then 15 minutes of  a functional scripted play activity.  However, after a couple months, the sessions started turning into 25 minutes of drill and only 5 minutes of play because it was taking her longer and longer to practice the same old cards week after week because she was bored and losing interest!

There are many games that lend themselves to repetitions, but today I'm going to introduce you to a quick little activity that you can use with almost any target and that kids absolutely LOVE.  The materials you need are:
"The Grouchy Ladybug" book by Eric Carle
Construction paper

Yep, that's it.  Pick the therapy target, and you're on your way.  This week my target for one client was "ladybug." ( This is a C1V1C2V2 + CVC syllable shape), for another it was "bug" (A CVC syllable shape), for another it was "grouchy" (for working on 'r' blends), and yet another had to say the entire "grouchy ladybug."  While reading, I stop and pause right before their word.  For example, "Oh, you're not big enough said the grouchy lady ____."  I then wait for the kiddo to plug in their target cueing and correcting as needed. The word "Grouchy Ladybug" is repeated 33 times in this book!  That means before you even start the activity, the child has already had 33 instances of practice!

To read about getting practice in with repetitive books see here: Repetitive books great for apraxia therapy

I also want to mention, that most Eric Carle books are also available in Spanish, so for you bilingual SLP's out there; this is also a great activity to do with them!

Now for the activity.  Feel free to laugh.  I know my strengths and I know I'm no artist, but let me tell you, all my kids LOVE doing stuff like this.  I drew an (admittedly sad) outline of a ladybug using red construction paper, and had the kiddos glue on black spots.  Every time they glued on a spot they had to say their target word 5 times.  There are 20 dots on this ladybug, which meant they said their target sound 100 times! It didn't matter that the ladybug wasn't perfect, kids just love crafting their own creations and you can feel good about getting a TON of repetitions in!

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