What Is Block Therapy™?
Block Therapy™ is an intensive, daily, speech therapy program consisting of speech and language intervention for 30 hours over 6 weeks. Each 6-week Block focuses on a few, specific goals designed to target one major area of communication. Developed by Sweeney, Augustin and Associates, Block Therapy™ is based on current research in neuroplasticity and the underlying issues related to speech and language disorders. The Block schedule was designed to address what is now known about neuroplasticity -- that brain structure can change, and that intensive intervention can have a more significant impact on the structure and organization of the brain than intervention offered on a less intensive basis. Block Therapy™ has been offered with great success for more than 8 years at Sweeney, Augustin and Associates.
Who Can Benefit?
Block Therapy™ is ideal for children with communication challenges related to autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disorders, as well as the associated deficits including auditory processing disorders, oral and verbal apraxias, social language disorders, and oral motor delays. It is an effective way to give children a large push forward in a relatively short period of time. Following a Block, children can return to their primary therapies (school and/or private) ready to tackle new, higher level goals. Currently several different types of Blocks have been provided with great success. These include:
- First Word Blocks for children of any age who are not yet speaking
- Commenting Blocks focusing on using speech to make comments, an important skill in the development of conversation
- Conversation Blocks designed to teach conversation and social language skills
- “Breaking the Code,” a Block focusing on building sentence production and grammar skills
- Narrative Blocks which teach story grammar and/or personal narratives
- Speech Production Blocks to help children with articulation and phonological disorders
Involving the Team
Involvement of parents, caregivers, and other therapy team members (home therapy teams, school and private SLPs, etc) is essential to the long-term success of the Block. Parents are encouraged to participate in therapy sessions if able and complete daily practice activities to increase the speed with which goals are met. It is important that communication expectations change and grow as the child progresses through the Block, and participation and collaboration are the key to lasting changes in the child’s communication skills. Communication with the child’s family and other team members is encouraged, and by sharing videos and updates throughout the six weeks of the Block, team members are able to see the progress the child is making in therapy and encourage generalization of those skills across all environments.