What is the PROMPT Technique?
PROMPT stands for “Prompts for Restructuring Oral and Muscular Phonetic Targets.” It is used to restructure the speech production capabilities of children with a variety of speech disorders, including apraxia.
PROMPT utilizes specific techniques based on touch pressure, proprioceptive (the body’s sense of itself) and kinesthetic (tactile) cues to help reshape the way the brain and mouth work together to articulate words. This is a very hands-on approach which will require the involvement of a speech language pathologist to administer treatments.
For example, one PROMPT technique involves manipulating the external muscles of the face to help the child understand the movement required to produce a specific sound. Because each individual’s needs are different, the types of techniques will vary. The PROMPT technique often is not used by itself to treat apraxia, but is used in conjunction with other tools.
Why PROMPT is Used for Apraxia
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a neurological disorder characterized by the inability to carry out skilled or planned movements and gestures, specifically those movements having to do with speech production. Though doctors are uncertain what causes this disorder, they do know that while your child may have the intention to communicate, the desired message gets disrupted on its way to articulation.
Due to the neurological element of this disorder, children with apraxia require a good amount of sequencing and integration of motor movements to help their brain understand how certain speech production movements should be made. PROMPT is a tool specifically designed to address this problem. It is also a versatile technique which can be adapted to suit the individual needs of each child.
A speech language pathologist will be able to evaluate which areas of speech production a child is having trouble with and design an individualized prompt sequence to address these needs.
Effectiveness of PROMPT
The effectiveness of PROMPT varies by child. Measuring how well it works depends on the expectations of the child undergoing the treatment and also of the parent. PROMPT has a very good success rate in helping children communicate better, though it is important to understand that it is not a cure-all. Some children recover full speech and intelligibility while others will continue to have some impairments in speech.
The progress a child makes with PROMPT will depend on other factors as well including: the potential of the child’s motor system, how early the treatment is administered, parental involvement, and the skill of the clinician who administers the treatment. That being said, the PROMPT technique has been around for quite some time and has evolved to be more effective over the years. With diligence and patience, your child should see improvement from the use of this system.