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  • Writer's pictureAmy Williams

My child is really difficult to understand

Does your child have difficulty speaking clearly? Do they produce words differently each time they say them so you're not even always sure what they are trying to say?

One approach that we use at CISLT is called the Core Vocabulary Approach and it is typically used for children with very unintelligible speech who don't follow the normal patterns of speech development.

Specifically, it targets those children who may use speech sounds inconsistently – by this, we mean children may produce the same word differently each time they say it. For example, ‘spider’ may be produced as ‘bider’, ‘biya’ and ‘siya’ on different occasions.

Why do we use it?

Lots of evidence suggests it is important to create consistent production of speech sounds before perfecting specific sounds. Plus, it is very relevant for the child as they get the chance to practice words they will use a lot.

What do we do in therapy sessions?

First, we will choose 70-100 target words relevant and useful for the child. These can be anything, ranging from pet’s names, Paw Patrol characters or types of dinosaurs!

Our first session will focus on 7 - 10 randomly chosen words. We will practice the "best production" of these words, that the child can achieve by using: - Visual and verbal cues to create the correct mouth movements - Imitation – the child will copy the therapist - Making each sound separately, breaking down into syllables e.g. straw-be-rry.

The next session will be lots of practice of this "best production". We use various games and activities to motivate the child such as board games, Jenga, bubbles – the list is endless.

The approach continues until the child is making consistent productions and/or using age-appropriate speech errors consistently.

What do you have to do at home?

All you need to do is help create a bank of words which may be particularly relevant for your child. Practice with your child for a few minutes each day using a motivating game or activity and the advice given by your therapist.

Depending on the severity of child’s speech, we typically recommend 7- 8 weeks of therapy but this may continue for longer, depending on their progress.

If this sounds like something that your child may benefit from, please call us on 07534043087 or email us on to discuss whether we may be the right therapists for your family.

Kerry x

Specialist Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist.

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