Catch Up Kids and children speech therapist:
Children who experience difficulty saying certain words or sounds are often referred to a children speech therapist who then works on improving their articulation, fluency, increasing their understanding of language and their ability to communicate clearly. Catch Up Kids provides Applied Behavior Analytic (ABA) services which focus on changing an individual’s behavior to produce socially significant changes in the person’s life- in this case speaking clearly to be better understood by others. When a parent is faced with a child who has difficulty speaking their first source for assistance is usually a children speech therapist recommended by a doctor or teacher, however ABA services- while reputable worldwide- are becoming more renown in South Africa and at Catch Up Kids we employ services that are based on scientific research and have shown positive results.
At Catch Up Kids when a parent approaches us with a child who has speech or language difficulties we focus on teaching the child ways to speak more clearly, with much of the same focus that a children speech therapist would have. We assess:
- Their language skills
- The strength (or lack thereof) of the muscles around the mouth
- Their articulation (clarity of the words and sounds spoken)
- Their fluency (ability to say complete words with ease, without stuttering)
- Their resonance and prosody (tone, pitch and volume when speaking)
- Their grammatical skills (the ability to form clear statements by putting words together in the correct order in a coherent sentence)
And our supervisors will then design an individualized program to target the areas the child needs assistance with in order to be clearly understood when speaking.
The program is then implemented by a team of tutors who have been trained in PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets)- a type of therapy employed by children speech therapist and speech-language pathologists. PROMPT uses touch cues to guide the child through saying a sound, word or sentence by providing input to the child’s jaw, tongue and lips to use correct oral muscular movements in order to produce clear sounds and words. The tutors provide both physical and verbal guidance related to the placement and movement of the oral motor muscles and timing of the sounds and/ or words to develop better motor control.
In addition to PROMPT, speech and language skills at Catch Up Kids are taught through play skills, social interactions, building language repertoires and vocabularies, developing cognitive and academic skills and addressing any challenging behaviors and sensory processing disorders that may be present.
Progress is monitored on a monthly basis when the supervisor, team members, child and parents meet in a workshop to assess improvements made and any possible changes to be made to the program to align with the progress achieved thus far. Our teams often collaborate with the child’s teachers to assess whether the skills taught in the 1:1 setting have generalized to other areas of the child’s life and to note the differences seen in these areas.