Monday, August 12, 2013

Speech and ABA Therapy Techniques

For years we have been trying to help Ellie shape her mouth and make sounds.  For years I have been waiting for whispers (or shouts) of words to escape her mouth.

Then, it happened:

Baby.  She used to say "Eeeeee".  Then "buh", "buh-ee", "buh-bee" and now BABY!


When Ellie is touching her mouth or her neck in these videos, she is doing something called "PROMPT".  Our speech therapist and ABA therapist have chosen certain areas of the face/throat and movements of the fingers for specific sounds--i.e. tapping the throat for a /c/g/k/ sounds because those are guttural.  A finger across the upper lip for /m/ as a reminder to press the lips together.

ABA Techniques

The above video shows a typical ABA therapy game. There is a reason behind each component.

Socialization: eye contact.  Leslie does not tell Ellie yes or no until there Ellie meets her eyes

Fine Motor: pointing.  This was one of the first ways we got Ellie to point.  She must tap the bowls with her pointer finger.  Then, she need to be able to lift the laminated picture off the table in a pincer-like grasp.

Increase Attention /  Decrease Impulsivity: She has to watch, while sitting!, Leslie move the bowls around to determine where the picture is.  She has to listen to the full set of directions and then follow through on those commands.

Following Directions: see above. Ellie must sit in chair even though she really really really doesn't want to, she has to listen to directions and follow through.  This is an important task for school preparation as Ellie can not just run about the classroom and full-fill her every whim.  There are rules and expectations and this ABA sequence helps Ellie learn classroom basics--sitting, listening to the teacher.

Finger Play: the around-and-around finger play is great for both communication and imitation

Speech: Leslie uses speech communication cards similar to the Kaufman method.  You say the full word 3 times and then break each word down based off of where the child is in her speech development.  For example, with book, you start at "bu" and then build up to "book".
  • book
  • boo-k
  • bu
Baby would look like this:
  • baby
  • bē-bē
  • bā-bē
  • bā(long a)
  • bă-ē
  • bĕh

Being true dog training ABA therapy, there is a reward at the end.  For Ellie, it is a fruit snack and lavish praise. Eventually, the reward becomes a stamp or a sticker with praise.  Then, just praise.

All of Ellie's ABA therapy games have multiple steps and address a series of developmental aspects.



  1. I loved the videos! I find child development and speech therapy fascinating. So much fun to watch kids learn. =)

  2. Loved watching her. Baby baby baby... :-)


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