Piaget on Apraxia

By Pam Marshalla

Q: I have a question regarding some information in your book called Becoming Verbal with Childhood Apraxia. I have found the information in this book to be quite valuable in my work in early intervention. Where can I find more information on Piaget’s four basic stages in the development of imitation skills?

I am the only person I know who has abstracted Piaget’s information in this way, and that is why I spelled it out in that book. I originally read about Piaget’s basic ideas in the following easy-to-read book that still can be found online: Ginsburg, H., & Opper, S. (1969) Piaget’s Theory of Intellectual Development. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

The basic ideas I abstracted for my book are in that Piaget primer. They are in the chapter on infancy, in the section on imitation. If you read Ginsberg and Opper, you will find much less information than I wrote about in my book. Their book contains only a few pages describing these ideas. Piaget wrote about so many different things that his words on imitation are only a small portion of his writings.

When I first read Piaget’s ideas about imitation in 1974, I saw immediately that they had widespread application to the development of expressive speech in our clients. I first began to describe these stages in my newsletters published in the 1980’s. What I wrote in the book you referenced above was based on years of experimenting with these basic ideas with a wide variety of cases, from infants through adults. I amplified Piaget’s information on imitation for the speech-language community because I saw a tremendous need for it.

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