PROMPT© —A ‘Hands-On’ Approach to Improving Speech Clarity

PROMPT—A ‘Hands-On’ Approach to Improving Speech Clarity

When most people think of speech therapy, they envision a speech-language pathologist in a tidy office, working magic to remedy a lisp or a weak /r/ in a matter of weeks. While some speech-sound delays are easily addressed through a quick series of sessions with simple tricks and tips, in reality, many children face underlying issues that make speech-sound production much more challenging.

Unclear speech often results from impaired movement of the muscles used for speech production, including: the diaphragm, the lips, the tongue etc. This is called dysarthria. Other speech-sound difficulties can be a result of apraxia, a difficulty planning and sequencing the mouth movements required for speech.

For parents of children who have motor-speech and motor-planning difficulties, straight-forward articulation therapy can be a frustrating, tedious journey, with minimal transfer of success across sessions. Parents often ask: “Where do I start when my child’s speech is so unclear?”; “How do I ensure that my child’s overall speech is clear, and not just limited to clear production of one specific sound?” Many studies have indicated that speech is a motor skill, much like many other motor skills that we learn. Children with speech-sound delays, especially motor-speech sound delays, often make better progress in speech therapy when they are provided with mass practice, and repeated visual, auditory and tactile cues (seeing how a sound is made, hearing how it is produced, and feeling how it is produced). A PROMPT-based approach to therapy is often an extremely effective route to addressing speech-sound difficulties.

What is PROMPT©?

PROMPT© stands for Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets. It is a tactile-kinesthetic approach to speech therapy, which means that the speech-language pathologist uses touch cues on the client’s face (vocal folds, jaw, lips, tongue), to support and shape correct movement of these articulators. Through these specialized touch cues, the speech-language pathologist is able to guide the client through a series of syllables, words or phrases. This hands-on approach assists the client to plan, coordinate and produce speech sounds. Touch cues are faded as the client’s speech production improves. PROMPT©-trained speech-language pathologists take into account, not only the physical aspects of speech production (how to physically make the sounds using the lips, tongue, etc.), but also the other areas of the child’s development, such as language development, as well as social and emotional implications. The result is a holistic approach to the child’s speech-sound delay, with an emphasis on practical activities and vocabulary.

Who Benefits from PROMPT©?

Studies have shown that PROMPT© has been effective in treating a wide range of communication disorders. PROMPT© is most commonly used with children who have articulation delays, motor speech difficulties or childhood apraxia of speech. Some studies have also demonstrated that PROMPT© has been effective in other populations, such as adults with apraxia and aphasia.

If PROMPT© is for You, We Can Help

1to1 Therapy is pleased to offer the option of speech and language therapy with PROMPT© Trained (level 1) and PROMPT© Bridging Trained (level 2) Speech-Language Pathologists. Please contact us directly to learn more.

Dale, P. & Hayden, D. (2012). The efficacy of PROMPT for treating Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Submitted to the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

Dale, P., & Hayden, D. (2013). Treating speech subsystems in CAS with tactual input: The
PROMPT approach. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 4, 644-661.

Grigos, M., Hayden, D., and Eigen, J. (2010). Perceptual and Articulatory Changes in Speech Production Following PROMPT Treatment. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 18, 46-53.

About the Author:
Carol Marisette is a Speech-Language Pathologist, clinical mentor and the quality and risk manager at 1to1. She has expertise in working with preschool and school-aged children with articulation delays, motor speech difficulties and childhood apraxia of speech. Carol is PROMPT© trained and PROMPT© Bridging trained.

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