Vowels and Intelligibility with Apraxia

By Pam Marshalla

9384667431_dcfe7a8028_mQ: My son is 2.5 years old. He can say 6 words: Mom (ma), ball, up (uh), gone, please (pease), and truck. I am feeling overwhelmed with how to incorporate the 3 tracks of your “Vowel Tracks” material. Can I start with one track? He gets really frustrated with wanting stuff. I am getting worried he won’t talk.

The purpose of Vowel Tracks is to show how to focus on vowels as new words are being added to a child’s expressive vocabulary. Most SLPs focus on consonants and never even address the vowels, but the vowels are what make the word more intelligible.

As your son gains new words, the point is to get the vowel straightened out as much as possible, and not to worry about the consonants as much at this early stage. So, if he calls a “shoe” a “gaw”, it is better to focus on the “oo” part first. Help him change “gaw” to “oo” or “Goo” instead of trying to teach him to say it with an SH.

From how you described your son, I would say that the greater need is more WORDS at this point. And if he is getting frustrated with this process of learning new vocabulary, then something is being done wrong… Or maybe not wrong, but not to his liking.

Have you seen my book called Becoming Verbal with Childhood Apraxia? All I could tell you here in a few sentences is spelled out very specifically in that book. It was written for exactly your type of child. It’s inexpensive and was written for parents and therapists alike. It is about helping a child like this to become more verbally interactive and imitative. May I suggest you read it through and follow the advice in there? I think it will help you a lot.

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