Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Repetitive Books & Language Development

by Jennifer deJong

The article Repetitive Books: An Effective Therapeutic Strategy for Children Diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech outlines many benefits that repetitive books, such as “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”, provide when working with children who have apraxia of speech.

  • Repetitive books provide predictability that decreases the “cognitive load” that a child must use to interpret books.
  • They often use carrier phases and/or repeated questions that provide opportunities for the child to fill in words, phases, character’s names, etc. allowing the child to become involved in reading the story without having to use a great amount of effort (or less effort than a narrative would require).

Carrier Phrases

In addition, carrier phrases, “What do you see?”, allow children to produce longer utterances with a decreased “motor load”. The repeated carrier phrase allows the child to continue to use the same motor production sequence with the exception of one word or short phrase that changes on each page. By repeating the same phonemes throughout the book the amount of error inconsistency may decrease due to the frequent practice of those phonemes (which is a common characteristic across childhood apraxia of speech (CAS).

Slows it Down

Repetitive books also provide consistent inflection and flow of words. Children with CAS often have difficulty with the prosody of their speech. Quite often the flow, stress, rate, pitch, etc. of their speech does not follow a typical pattern which in turn decreases the intelligibility and meaning of their speech. When the reader models an appropriate prosody while reading a repetitive book it provides an opportunity for the child to hear and imitate their intonation.

In Therapy and At Home

Not only are repetitive books beneficial in a therapy session but they can also be used as an easy tool for parents to implement at home with their child. If both the therapist and the parents are practicing reading and repetition of phonemes with the child who has CAS the benefits and progress are likely to increase even more.

There are many benefits to repetitive books and each of the characteristics can decrease the challenges of child with CAS speech. By encouraging these children and having them participate in reading it can not only aid in their motor planning but also decrease their overall frustration, increase self-esteem and provide a sense of accomplishment and empowerment.
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