Last month, I travelled back to Australia for the next level of PROMPT Training. Honestly speaking, when I did the PROMPT Introductory Course in Australia a couple of years ago, I never imagined how much impact PROMPT Therapy would have on the communication development of some of the children I work with. These children and teenagers did not have any words before they started PROMPT Therapy – and now they are saying their first words, even at the age of 16! And the best part about it is that the children, even the really young kiddos, understand the value of PROMPT Therapy. Anyone who is a Parent or Educator knows that when the child is on board, any learning is possible.
Here are 3 powerful insights from PROMPT:
1. Most children benefit from engaging more than one sensory system in learning.
Children are often expected to learn to speak through exposure in their environment, or by being explicitly taught things verbally - both of these methods rely mostly on a child's ability to learn new information auditorily. However, for many children, this is not the best way for them to learn. Research evidence has shown that some children learn to communicate better when information is visually presented, such as with pictures, hand-signs, and written words.
Now, this is where PROMPT shines. PROMPT is a unique approach to teaching communication because not only does it involve engaging a child auditorily and visually, but it also relies heavily on using tactile cues (applying touch and pressure to a child's face). By teaching children to communicate by using these three different cues at the same time, we give children more tools to succeed.
2. Turn-taking is important in all communication exchanges.
Even though PROMPT focuses heavily on speech-sound production and speech clarity, turn-taking is a must in every activity. By working on speech production in turn-taking activities, children also practice this core non-verbal communication skill in all of their communication exchanges.
Also, when the activity involves turns, a child has the chance to listen to the correct verbal model provided when it is not their turn. Most children enjoy learning during turn-taking activities because it alleviates them from the 'pressure to perform', since the focus of the activity is not always on them. In my experience, teaching communication is also more fun with turn-taking!
3. Communication is made up of sub-systems; by improving one sub-system you can change other sub-systems.
PROMPT is more about the bigger picture when it comes to improving a child's communication. Rather than just focusing on one area of communication, such as speech sounds, PROMPT Therapy always involves working on at least two of the communication sub-systems below at the same time:
I am looking forward to continue seeing more first words, and other words to follow through the use of PROMPT Therapy. If you would like to know more about PROMPT, you can read more about it in my introduction post about PROMPT by clicking here.
The Expat Speechie
Chiman Estephan, MSLP, MSPA, CPSP, ACAS
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