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Julie Glazebook
BY Julie Glazebook

How to Build Speech & Language Practice into Your Child’s Day

Speech-language pathologists know that building time into the day to do therapy-related homework can be a struggle, especially on top of work assigned by your child’s school.  Luckily, scripting – possibly the most important piece of homework – can be easily integrated into your everyday life.  Scripting can be done repeatedly and on a daily basis, which is best for learning new skills.

What is Scripting?

Scripting is an adult-directed method of providing children with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) and expressive language challenges with functional verbal communication. It is a wonderful way to help them to obtain the items/actions that they most desire.

“Use your Words”

Frequently, these children do not have either the words or the motor planning to construct whole sentences to request items or activities.  Simply saying, “use your words” is an ineffective method for children with CAS.  Quite often, they would if they could.  Scripting also provides the children with a method of learning the motor planning necessary for sentences such as “open _____,” or “put away ____.”

Scripting can also help with one-word requests such as “cookie.” This is a quick and simple way to help the child to communicate their basic wants and needs, and helps the parent to know exactly what the child wants.

What happens within the Interactions?

Within each interaction, several steps should occur (with examples):

  1. The parent recognizes a communication opportunity (the child wants an item/action)
    The door is closed.
  2. The parent phrases a “yes/no” question to the child which contains the answer to the question
    The parent says, “Do you want me to open the door?”
  3. The parent helps the child to respond with his best approximation to the question (as needed)
    The parent tells the child, “Tell me ‘yes.’”
  4. The parent tells the child to state the request/mand while helping the child to use his best approximations. The parent tells the child, “Tell me, ‘open door’” and assists with best approximations. The parent then models correctly, “Yes, I opened the door.”

How do Word Approximations Help?

Word approximations are the best consonant-vowel combinations a child is able to produce and most closely resemble the word they are attempting to verbalize. For example, some children cannot produce the final “L” sound in the word “apple,” but are able to say “apo.”  Another child may not be able to say the word “cookie” because he/she cannot say the hard “c/k” sound, but may be able to say “tootie” instead.  These word approximations serve as functional communication for the child with CAS. Modeling the words and phrases correctly both before and after providing the word approximations or scripts is important!

Adding scripting time into your day is much easier than you might think and is easily built into your normal activities.  You can build scripting time into your visit to the grocery store, at the park, or while getting dressed in the morning. Please refer to your SLP for your child’s best verbal approximations. 

I want __________.

I want to __________.

Can (may) I have _________?

Let me __________.

Put away __________.

Put on __________.

Take off __________.

Pick up __________.

Watch me __________.

Using Scripting in Daily Life

So many other ways exist to incorporate scripting into your day. Play games, or hide a few inexpensive toys around a room and have the child tell you where she/he found them. Read a book, and discuss the pictures or actions. You can discover countless unique ways to weave scripting into your day.

Repetition is key to learning intelligible speech patterns—not just a few repetitions, but hundreds upon hundreds of repetitions!  It sounds like a daunting task put in those terms, but it is important and it WORKS.

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Julie Glazebook

Written on May 13, 2014 by:

Julie Glazebrook, MA, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist at the Kaufman Children’s Center for Speech, Language, Sensory-Motor & Social Connections, Inc., in West Bloomfield MI. She holds both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Western Michigan University. 
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