How can OT help my child excel in speech?

Let's start with praxis. You might hear praxis referred to as motor planning.  Praxis requires observing and understanding the task (ideation), planning out an action in response to the task (organization), and the act of carrying out the task (execution). A difficulty with any of these areas will lead to dyspraxia in many skill areas.  

Praxis is when you think, I want to put my shirt on, then your brain tells your muscles what steps they need to take in order to accomplish this task.

When you have dyspraxia, you have trouble figuring out what you need your muscles to do in order to accomplish the task.


Here’s an example:

My child is clumsy! He trips over things, bumps into things and falls multiple times a day. He has limited words or talks in a very monotone voice, making lots of mistakes on the pronunciation. At school he has a hard time with PE, sports or learning new tasks. If this rings true for your child, he or she may be having difficulties with motor planning, coordination, and/or balance, which can present differently at all ages.

When we think of speech, it’s actually a process of complex and coordinated motor skills. So, if your child struggles with gross motor (large body) movements, fine motor (small muscle) movements, or coordination of both types of movements, likely she or he will struggle with speech.

We must organize incoming information, including sensory input, and integrate that information into our plan.  Motor Planning happens with everything we do! From walking around objects in our path, to picking up items, to aiming and throwing, drawing, writing, getting dressed, and even TALKING…

Motor Planning, problem solving and moving our bodies requires fine motor and gross motor skills and planning to plan out, organize, and carry out an action.

  • The term can be used related to tasks, so you may hear someone talk about types of apraxia, such as speech apraxia or oral apraxia.


  • Speech motor planningis the ability to come up with an idea, plan how to say or express that idea and then finally say it. Muscle tone refers to the muscles and strength needed to move the jaw, tongue and other muscles needed to speak.


In OT, we work on these many areas to help improve motor planning as dyspraxia can be a result of poor sensory integration, visual difficulties, fine motor and gross motor coordination and ability, neural processing, and many other areas. 

If your child struggles with motor planning, it's important to know that this skill can improve. At MPPT, we provide a collaborative plan of care for children with motor planning difficulties by combining occupational and speech therapy to allow progress to happen quickly! An occupational therapist can help your child learn the initial steps and sequences of tasks, so tasks become more automatic. While a speech therapist can work on the speech and language aspects simultaneously. This helps improve a variety of skill areas including the ability to motor plan confidence to engage in sports, self esteem, independence in self care, academics as well as the ability to motor plan speech and language and the articulation of sounds.