A child at home doing PROMPT therapy on her laptop

What is PROMPT Therapy?

PROMPT therapy is a unique holistic tactile/kinesthetic approach to speech therapy. Therapists use touch cues on the lips, jaws, tongue, and vocal cords. They use this technique to help shape and support proper movement and placement of the vocal organs, known as articulators, and include the lips, tongue, hard palate, and teeth.

PROMPT therapy was first developed in the 1970s by a speech therapist named Deborah Hayden. Dr. Hayden set out to create a form of speech therapy to help those who were not benefiting or responding to traditional forms of speech therapy. The name comes from an acronym: Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets. It’s both a treatment method and philosophy and this holistic program is designed to promote and facilitate the development of motor skills and the production of phonemes, which are the smallest units of sound. 

Speech sound production is a very complicated process, involving the use and co-operation of over a hundred different muscles. The treatment of motor speech disorders can be complicated, and in many cases, PROMPT therapy can be an incredibly effective treatment option. PROMPT therapy focuses on teaching motor control and approaches communication as a combination of cognitive-linguistic, physical-sensory, and social-emotional capabilities. 

For the most part, PROMPT therapy is used to improve functional speech, meaning the clarity of speech. Using this method, therapists are able to clearly communicate and demonstrate the proper placement and movement of the lips, tongue, teeth, and jaw to create specific sounds and sound combinations. 

Do you need help with articulation and overall speech clarity? Here at Great Speech, our biggest goal is matching the right client with the right specialized online speech therapist on our team, so you can start seeing some real progress towards your speech therapy goals. Schedule a free introductory call with us to discuss the challenges you are facing, as well as the best online program available to help you.

Who does PROMPT Therapy help?

Research has shown that PROMPT speech therapy can be highly effective in treating a vast array of speech delays and disorders. The most common disorders to be treated through PROMPT therapy are those related to speech-sound production such as motor speech difficulties, articulation delays, autism spectrum disorder, and apraxia in speech. Apraxia is a neurogenic speech disorder that directly affects speech sound production, rate or speed of speech, and disrupted prosody. PROMPT therapy has also been shown to help adults who are struggling with aphasia or apraxia as a result of a stroke or other traumatic brain injury. 

Prompt therapy may be used, in a variety of ways and intensities, from the age of 6 months onward. You can also schedule a free introductory call to get matched with an online speech language therapist on our team to get help with speech sound production. 

How does PROMPT Therapy work? 

 In order to be certified in this approach, a speech-language pathologist must attend PROMPT training courses and meet a number of certification requirements that have been established by the PROMPT Institute. 

Once the PROMPT method has been selected as an appropriate form of treatment, an initial standardized assessment will be conducted by a speech therapist that is educated, intensively trained, and qualified in this unique approach. This assessment (which may include multiple portions or evaluations) will allow the therapist to observe and assess motor speech development. The assessment will progress following seven interrelated stages, beginning with the Foundations of Speech and continuing until all challenges and/or delays are identified. Through the use of this unique conceptual framework, speech therapists are able to identify, prioritize and target areas that pose the most difficulty. 

Once the needs of the client are identified, the therapist will then design a custom treatment plan with a focus on targeting the specific objectives and goals that are unique to that person. Tactile cues are used to shape speech and aid sound production at increasing complexities. Often therapists will use repetition of these cues and encourage the client to repeat the same sound or phoneme multiple times, in order to solidify the correct placement and movement of the articulators and build muscle memory. This approach is so effective because it allows the therapist to visually demonstrate how a sound is made, how it should sound, and exactly how it can be made with their own articulators.

Most of the therapy will be focused on targeting specific sounds, and over time incorporating these sounds into syllables, words, and eventually full and clear sentences. Each therapist will design a program based on socially appropriate and meaningful contexts which can help to provide motivation for the client to learn and master the use of their skills. 

What is the difference between Prompt and Cue Therapy?

PROMPT therapy is a literal hands-on approach to speech therapy. A therapist using the PROMPT method uses physical tactile touch or prompts to help guide and demonstrate proper movement and placement of the vocal organs.

The use of cues in speech therapy is one of the fundamental and most important aspects of a therapy program. These can include verbal, gestural, or visual cues. 

The main difference between PROMPT therapy and the use of cues in speech therapy is that prompts are direct instructions with a demonstration, whereas cues are simply clues or hints that are aimed to help guide towards the correct response or action. As therapy progresses, and skills become more solidified, prompts may be replaced with cues. 

Is PROMPT Therapy effective? Is PROMPT therapy evidence-based? 

There have been many studies that have illustrated and highlighted the effectiveness of PROMPT therapy, especially in the treatment of Speech Motor Delays. PROMPT intervention has been directly associated with improved speech motor control, word-level speech intelligibility, and speech articulation. This approach to speech therapy integrates the communication of information across visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic systems and as a result, helps to establish improved accuracy and stability of speech. PROMPT therapy is constantly changing and evolving as new research and empirical evidence are established.

PROMPT therapy is a highly unique and specialized approach to speech therapy and has been proven to be highly effective in the improvement of speech motor control, speech articulation, and speech intelligibility. 

If you are concerned about the development of your child’s speech, have concerns about the clarity of their speech, or want to learn more about PROMPT speech therapy, the next step is to connect with one of our highly trained and specialized speech therapists by beginning your online speech therapy program. Get started and schedule your free introductory call today! 

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