Choosing Goals for Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Updated: Jun 5


Have you ever wondered, "how to choose goals for Apraxia of Speech?"


Choosing goals for Apraxia of Speech can be overwhelming!


Over the past 13 years, I have read a tonne of journal articles and stacks of textbooks to help me feel confident in assessing and treating toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners with Apraxia of Speech.


I have compiled my ‘top tips’ for choosing goals to use in treatment for Apraxia of Speech.





I like to choose goals that cover the following FOUR areas:


1) Prosody: Work on prosody from DAY ONE! Children with Apraxia of Speech tend to sound monotone. As you know, a lot of muscles need to work together to control intonation! This area can be really challenging for our little ones with CAS.


I love using visuals to help my students learn to use different pitches, volumes, and rates. I use my Prosody Cue cards during my sessions and send them home to promote carryover.


I included easy therapy ideas so you can start using them today!


(Need a freebie to send home for prosody homework? Check out my FREE Prosody Calendar).


2) Word Shapes: Word shapes are the way that consonants and vowels are put together to make

words. Typically C=consonant and V=vowel. Words can be simple, such as CV (e.g. key), or complex, such as CCVCC (stops).

Since Apraxia is a movement disorder, we want to make sure we are targeting word shapes (not sounds or patterns!). An easy rule of thumb is to target old sounds in new word shapes and new sounds in old word shapes.


So, how do you figure out which word shapes and sounds to target? A word shape inventory and phonetic inventory! You can determine these through a speech sound sample analysis! Use any activity that your student finds engaging and keep track of which sounds and word shapes your student is using.

Here is an example. Johnny is using p, b, t, d, w, and h and the word shape CVCV. We can target any of the sounds he is using in a NEW word shape (e.g. VC or CV) and/or any new sounds (i.e. sound the child is stimulable for but isn't use on their own in conversation) in the OLD word shape (e.g. K in CVCV).


Remember - we don't want to work on sounds the child isn't stimulable for because we want to be at a HIGH accuracy - this won't be possible if the child can't make the sound!


Need a quick list of sounds and word shapes? Check out my Apraxia Word list to help you save time when you are choosing target words for your students.


I compiled this list so you can have a quick reference when you need to pick functional and common words for your students. Simply find the sound and the word shape you want to target and find the corresponding words on the list!


3) Carrier Phrases: I like targeting carrier phrases because when a child has an inventory of intelligible phrases, the listener can get the ‘gist’ of what they are saying. Phrases such as “I like”, “I want”, “I see”, “No __” are all a great place to start. (Psstt..... the previously mentioned word list includes a list of functional carrier phrases).


4) Functional Words: Words that are meaningful to the student are SO important! Family names, pet names, favourite foods, favourite toys, favourite shows are all words to target! These are the words your student will be saying ALL the time! (The words you choose will obviously vary between students.)


If you need an easy form to help you plan your therapy sessions and homework sessions, please check out this FREEBIE: Apraxia Homework Planner! Simply check off the specific goals your student is working on in each of these four areas!


I hope you find these helpful in allowing you to feel confident and prepared when choosing goals for the students on your caseload!

**This information is not a substitute for therapy that is delivered by a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist. Any clinical decisions regarding treatment approach are the sole responsibility of the Speech-Language Pathologist.**

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