Apraxia: Classroom Placement and Amount of Therapy

By Pam Marshalla

Q: My beautiful nearly four-year-old son was diagnosed with verbal apraxia around the age of two. There does not seem to be any other developmental issues of concern. Have you found that an alternative schooling program is better for the preschool aged children with apraxia? If so what type of schooling would you suggest?

He currently is enrolled in the public school system and only receives one half-hour of speech therapy three days per week there. We also go to a private therapist twice per week for an hour each day. My concern is that during the 5 hours he is in the classroom he may not be getting the one-on-one attention he may need to help him communicate with the other children and also while he is participating in activities. I am trying to find an alternative school that might fill that gap for him. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Nationwide there typically is no perfect classroom placement for a child with apraxia. If he is smart, as most of these kids are, then he should be placed in a regular preschool classroom, and then a regular kindergarten classroom, with speech services. Three days of speech services in the public schools is a lot, and more than you would get most places. And then additional therapy two other days per week gives him five days a week of therapy. Five days a week of therapy is a lot! It is significantly more than I would have recommended.

Most of children with apraxia do not need MORE THERAPY RIGHT NOW to help them overcome this. Most of these kids need GOOD THERAPY OVER THE LONG HAUL. In my experience, these children need good therapy attended consistently over the years that helps them gradually improve. And then, unfortunately, there are those whose problem is so severe that no amount of therapy helps much. I hope that is not the case with your child.

I would recommend that you not think that this will go away with more therapy now. If this truly is apraxia (and it may not be), this is going to take a while. If it isn’t apraxia, and is a severe phonological deficit instead, then your son is getting plenty of therapy (probably way too much) and this should resolve fairly easily in a year or two.

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