There is a lot for speech therapists/speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to consider when selecting speech targets for children with CAS. Here are some general guidelines, especially for children just starting their speech journey.
- Start with what the child can do with cueing. Look at their phonemic repertoire and what types of phonotactic shapes they use.
- Think about the movement patterns and phonotactic shapes they are using and consider some targets that would be similar and/or an expansion on these patterns and shapes. For example, if the child produces a bilabial CV, adding in another bilabial CV with a different consonant or vowel. Or maybe adding another syllable to make a CVCV or a consonant to make a CVC.
- Include different coarticulatory contexts and vowels. Variability is important for children with CAS! One way to include variability from the beginning is with different vowels and syllable shapes. Many children with CAS have difficulty with vowels and vowels are integral to intelligibility, so be sure to target them!
- Consider pragmatics and motivation. For a child who only has a few words, each word needs to be powerful and useful in many situations. Consider different pragmatic functions (social greetings, refusal, requesting, acceptance, etc) and be sure the target words include more than one function (e.g. not all requests). Think about power words or core words that have lots of uses. Also consider what is important and motivating for the child! What does the child want to be able to say?
- Select at least 5 targets. For many children with CAS, they’ll have many more than 5 targets, but select at least five for children with severe CAS to make sure they’re getting variability in their speech practice.
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