PROMPT® Therapy

Traditional speech therapy relies on clients being able to imitate sounds by copying what they see and hear.  This works well when the patient has normal muscle movements and tone and is easily able to copy sounds.

However, there are some clients who have difficulties doing this including:

  • Those who have significant speech motor impairments resulting from aberrant movement patterns, dyspraxia and dysarthria
  • Those who have speech difficulties associated with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down's Syndrome and various genetic disorders as well as other developmental disabilities or neurological impairment resulting from strokes or head injuries
  • Those with significant hearing impairment.

PROMPT® therapy builds a client's speech without relying on their ability to copy what they see and hear.  Even when these areas are intact, PROMPT benefits patients by adding touch.  Touch is our most efficient means of learning movements. By the therapist physically moving a patient's face and speech structures (jaws, tongue and lips), the patient does not need to "figure out" how to produce particular sounds and words - they are physically shown how to do it.

The great benefit of PROMPT is that it addresses underlying movement problems, not just speech sounds, which are often the focus in traditional therapy.  Many adults and children with complex speech problems have underlying speech movement issues that need to be addressed if their speech is to improve.

Traditional therapy also relies on clients being able to copy speech movements using sight or hearing.  PROMPT introduces a tactile kinesthetic element that enables people to "feel" what they are supposed to do. It is a very powerful way to teach.

Ainsley Poulos, the principal speech pathologist at Eastside Speech Solutions is one of only 4 PROMPT instructors in Australia, and is the only certified instructor in Sydney.

What our clients say about PROMPT® therapy

"My daughter Sophia (age 5) has been seeing Eastside Speech Solutions for PROMPT® speech therapy for a year now and we are thrilled with her progress. Sophia had seen a number of conventional speech therapists over 3 years with little progress of making any actual sounds but when she started receiving PROMPT speech therapy the improvement was amazing.

PROMPT® therapy really did help Sophia to say sounds she could never find herself including her name.  The therapy is fun and the team have a great variety of games and activities to keep little ones interested during the sessions. I would definitely recommend PROMPT therapy especially for kids with significant speech delays."


"Our daughter Rianna has been coming to Eastside Speech Solutions since she was two.  At the age of one, Rianna was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, which not only affects her gross and fine motor skills but also her speech.  Rianna met all the necessary milestones when it came to speech, babbling from a young age, followed by using words and then slowly building sentences.  She has a huge vocabulary and is a real chatterbox.  Rianna's biggest challenge has been the clarity and articulation of her speech and ensuring she has enough breath to deliver a long sentence.

The results we have seen in Rianna's speech since coming to Eastside Speech Solutions and being introduced to PROMPT® have been amazing.  She has gained an extraordinary amount of confidence and a real eagerness to participate in conversations.  The true testament to the wonderful work the clinic does is when we have family and friends comment on how much Rianna's speech has improved.  Even better still is seeing Rianna's frustration disappear as a result of others now better understanding what she is conveying"


Click here to read more of our testimonials

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information about developmental milestones and PROMPT® therapy:

  • When should I consult a speech pathologist about my child?


    In summary, call Eastside Speech Solutions and ask for your child to be
    assessed if:

    • You are worried about your child's language comprehension, expression and/or understanding
    • You think your child's understanding is different from other children
      of the same age (click here to read more about developmental milestones)
    • Your child stutters (no matter what their age)
    • Your child's voice sounds different from other children's e.g it sounds hoarse
    • Your child's teacher expresses concern.
  • What are the developmental milestones for a toddler?


    By the age of one, your baby should be able to:

    • Say dad, mumma and a few other words
    • Try to make familiar sounds, such as car and animal noises
    • Respond to familiar sounds such as the telephone ringing, vacuum cleaner or a car in the driveway
    • Understand simple commands such as "no!"
    • Recognise their own name
    • Understand the names of familiar objects and people
    • Enjoy songs, music and books.

    By the age of two most children start to talk to themselves and you can seen their language and communication skills starting to develop:

    • Listen to stories and say the names of the pictures
    • Understand simple sentences, such as "where's your shoe?"
    • Say the names of simple body parts such as nose or tummy
    • Use more than 50 words such as "no", "gone", "mine" and "teddy"
    • Talk to themselves or their toys in play
    • Sing simple songs such as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little star" or "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep"
    • Try simple sentences such as "Milk all gone"
    • Use some simple pronouns such as "he", "if"
    • Should be able to say m, n and h correctly.

    By the age of three, your child's communication should be understood by family, close friends and regular carers and they should be able to:

    • Understand how objects are used e.g. a crayon is something you draw with
    • Recognise their own needs such as hunger
    • Follow directions
    • Understand basic concepts (in/under, hot/cold)
    • Use 3-4 word sentences
    • Understand basic grammar
    • Enjoy telling stories and asking questions
    • Should be able to say p, b, m, n, ng, w, y, t, d, k, g and f

    By the age of four, your child should be able to be understood most of the time by most people.  If you find friends and acquaintances can not understand your child's express then perhaps a visit to a therapist may be warranted.  Your child should be able to:

    • Understand shape and colour names
    • Understand "wh" questions such as "where are they going?" or "why did he fall?"
    • Understand "time" words such as lunchtime, today, winter
    • Use lots of words (900+) and understand complex sentences
    • Use 4-5 word sentences
    • Use correct grammar most of the time
    • Use language when playing with other children
    • Should be able to say s, z, sh, ch and j

    This is by no means an exhaustive list.  If you are concerned about any aspect of your baby or toddler's speech or language please give us a call.

    Click here for milestones for school age children.

  • Is stuttering ever normal?


    Stuttering is never a normal part of a child's (or adult's) speech and is not caused by anxiety, stress or poor parenting. Whilst many children do stop stuttering, about 20% continue to stutter into adulthood if left untreated. In general, if your child is 4 years old or if they have been stuttering for about 6 months, now is the time to seek help.

  • What is tongue thrust?


    A tongue thrust is a condition where the tongue rests incorrectly (e.g. between the teeth) or moves forward during a swallow.  The result is that the tongue pushes against or protrudes between the upper and lower teeth.

    Some common indicators of a tongue thrust include:

    • an open bite
    • poor teeth alignment
    • poor muscle tone in the lips and cheeks
    • an open mouth resting posture during the day and/or at night
    • a tongue that you can see resting between the teet
    • difficulties saying "s, z, t or d" sounds
    • excessive lip licking or drooling
    • snoring.


  • What is PROMPT Therapy?


    PROMPT is an acronym for Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets.  It is a therapy developed in the 1980's by Deborah Hayden, founder of the PROMPT® Institute.  It is a holistic approach that assesses not just a client's speech movement patterns but how their speech production interacts with their language and cognitive abilities as well as their social and emotional skills.  Therapy goals are set taking into account the whole person and their needs.

  • How can I learn more about how PROMPT can help my child?


    The PROMPT institute has a very helpful website with information about PROMPT. At Eastside Speech we regularly run parent-training workshops for parents of children in our clinic. These workshops provide a comprehensive overview of the PROMPT apporach and help parents and caregivers to be involved in therapy planning and goal setting. They are generally run over 3 evenings.

Some Useful Links and Resources

Here are a list of sites and resources we have found useful for our patients: