In celebration of my launch of Functional Treatment for Motor Speech, this blog series looks closer at individual treatments for dysarthria and acquired apraxia.

As someone who embraces the Life Participation Approach in speech therapy, it’s my aim to provide any sort of speech therapy in a way that improves functional outcomes. We are used to seeing this with language, and maybe cognition, but Motor Speech treatment needn’t be excluded! While it is an impairment-level problem, I believe that we can focus on function by 1. Using words and phrases that MATTER (personally-relevant) and 2. Include SPEAKING (not just speech) and real-life practice within our therapy sessions and home programs.

Today, we’re talking about Contrastive Stress Sentences.

Tell me about Contrastive Stress Sentences:

These type of sentences are an exercise that can be used in speech therapy. They are recommended for both dysarthria and apraxia. I’ll confess that I’ve done these sentences in the past – but wasn’t always sure why I was doing these or what I should be watching for.

WHY do we do Contrastive Stress Sentences?

Contrastive stress practice is about practicing the control of saying sentences in different rhythms, or stressing different parts of the sentence. They are recommended as helpful for dysarthria and apraxia: to increase awareness to control respiration, rate, and pitch for prosody in connected speech, to improve rate / rhythm control and improve multi-word sequencing and intonation.

What sort of goals would Contrastive Stress Sentences address?

The overall intended effect is to improve naturalness and prosody of speech. It will be up to the SLP’s clinical judgement for each client to over-emphasize stressed word, or aim to sound as natural as possible with prosody. This can depend on the severity of client and if awareness or ability is the main target.

Do you have Contrastive Sentences I can use in Speech Therapy?

I’m so glad you asked. I took a unique approach with Contrastive Stress Sentences in my Functional Treatment for Motor Speech. In an aim to use personally-relevant words and phrases while completing contrastive stress exercises, I chose to make Contrastive Stress MadLibs, so that each client can use words that are relevant to them while completing this exercise. Everything you need is ready to go as part of Functional Treatment for Motor Speech.

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