Kaufman Speech Praxis Test, KSPT

Kaufman Speech Praxis Test (KSPT) is a norm-referenced assessment that is designed to assist in the identification and treatment of childhood apraxia of speech.

In the field of speech pathology, assessment tools like the Kaufman Speech Praxis Test play a critical role in the evaluation and diagnosis of communication disorders. They allow SLPs to identify specific areas of difficulty through an objective measure of a child’s skills. Speech Therapists can use this valuable information to create individualized treatment plans for clients.

SLPs can analyze and interpret the results of a child’s performance on the KSPT to identify childhood apraxia of speech for a child between the ages of 2 and 5 years 11 months.

The Kaufman Speech Praxis Test provides insight into a child’s ability to plan and execute oral movements for speech production. An accurate assessment of motor speech skills through this assessment is critical for developing therapy goals, determining appropriate intervention strategies, and monitoring progress.

Here we’ll explore the components of the Kaufman Speech Praxis Test (KSPT), discuss how SLPs can interpret and apply the results of the assessment to therapy planning, and more.

Overview of the Kaufman Speech Praxis Test (KSPT)

Background and development of the KSPT

The Kaufman Speech Praxis Test for Children (KSPT) was developed through a grant from the former Research Institute of William Beaumont Hospital and was published in 1995.

The Kaufman Speech Praxis Test was developed by the renowned speech-language pathologist Nancy Kaufman and other experts within the field. In addition to the assessment, Nancy Kaufman established the Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol (K-SLP).

The K-SLP is a treatment approach that can be used with children who have childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). The protocol is based on current research on CAS, motor learning, and applied behavior analysis (ABA). Kaufman also provides services through the Kaufman Children’s Center for Speech, Language, Sensory-Motor, and Autism Treatment, Inc (KCC), located in Michigan.

Components of the KSPT

The KSPT assesses a wide range of speech sound production, including vowels, consonants, various syllable shapes, and increasingly complex words. The KSPT consists of 4 subtests:

Part 1: Oral Movement

This subtest assesses the child’s ability to exercise oral movements upon command or by imitation. The child is asked to complete oral movements such as alternating tongue lateralization and elevating their tongue to the alveolar ridge. If the child is unable to execute the movement, the examiner can describe characteristics such as groping movements.

Part 2: Simple Phonemic/Syllabic Level

This subtest assesses the child’s ability to produce increasingly complex syllable shapes.

It includes the following sections:
  • Simple Isolated Vowels (V)

  • Vowel to Vowel Movement (VV): (i.e., diphthongs such as (/aI)

  • Simple Consonant Production (C)

  • Reduplicated Syllables (CVCV): (“mama”)

  • Consonant to Vowel Movement (CV): Maintaining simple consonant production when a vowel is added.

  • Vowel to Consonant-Vowel Movement (VCV): Maintaining 2 syllables with only 1 consonant, as in “obo”.

  • Repetitive Consonants with Vowel Change (CV1CV2): Producing 2 syllables when the second vowel changes, as in “Mommy”.

  • Simple Monosyllabics with Assimilation (CVC): Producing a CVC combination when the syllables are the same, as in the word “pop”.

  • Simple Consonant Synthesis (C/CVC/CVC): Maintaining simple initial and final consonants at the monosyllabic level.

  • Simple Bisyllabics with Consonant and Vowel Change (C1V1C2V2): (i.e., “happy”).

Part 3: Complex Phonemic/Syllabic Level
  • Complex Consonant Production/Synthesis (C/CVC/CVC). Here the assessment examines the child’s ability to produce complex consonants and whether they can be maintained in the initial and final positions of words. For example, the child is asked to say /k/, then “cow”, then “book”.

  • Blend Synthesis (CCVC): Can the child maintain 2 consonants consecutively in context, as in the /s/ blend in the word “swing”?

  • Front-to-Back and Back-to-Front Synthesis. Can the child move from an alveolar sound to a velar sound (i..e, in the word “duck”) and vice versa?

  • Complex Bisyllabics (CVCVC words).

  • Polysyllabic Synthesis/Sequencing (CVCVCV words), such as “banana”.

  • Length and Complexity: Maintaining clarity from monosyllabic to bisyllabic or polysyllabic words.

Part 4: Spontaneous length and complexity

In this subtest, the examiner makes a subjective rating of the child’s intelligibility and other speech production skills.

The KSPT is unique from some other methods of assessing childhood apraxia of speech in that it takes into account both motor and/or articulatory aspects, in addition to segmental aspects of speech (individual sounds).

Administration of the KSPT

The KSPT can be administered by an SLP in approximately 5 to 15 minutes. The examiner will only need the test booklet, as there are no manipulatives or picture stimuli provided.

The examiner moves through the test items and asks the client to imitate the oral motor movement or speech sound production. The SLP notes the total number of items incorrect on each subtest, which yields a raw score.

The raw score is then used with the examiner’s manual to calculate an age equivalency of the child’s performance. The SLP has the option to calculate normative data (standard scores and percentile ranking) for the “normal” speaking population of children and the “disordered” population.

While administering the KSPT, the SLP can identify the level of breakdown in a child’s ability to produce speech.

When retesting a child over time, the KSPT booklet can be reused by the clinician recording responses in a different color ink. These skills can then be compared to provide valuable insight about the effectiveness of treatment and to identify goals.

Population and applicability

The KSPT is designed for children between the ages of 2 and 5 years 11 months with suspected or diagnosed speech sound disorders, such as CAS, a motor planning disorder. It is a valuable tool for SLPs that can be administered in person or over teletherapy to aid in diagnosis and treatment planning.

Integration with speech therapy

The detailed results of the KSPT assessment allow the SLP to easily identify specific speech sound production goals. For example, if the SLP identifies the level of breakdown for speech production at the simple syllabic level, including difficulty producing reduplicated syllables such as “papa”, this can be targeted in therapy.

Speech therapists can also use the results of the KSPT to tailor therapy strategies to address a child’s speech production deficits. This can include motor planning exercises, drill, and repetition of certain sounds or syllables.

Limitations and considerations

While the KSPT is a valuable tool, it comes with limitations as other assessments do.

For younger children, reduced cooperation and attention can be a challenge with administering the test. Because the KSPT does not incorporate any picture stimuli or manipulatives, and it can be difficult to engage some children to follow the demands of imitation throughout the administration.

Additionally, some children may have cognitive or developmental delays that can impact their ability to participate in the KSPT assessment. These limitations should be considered when determining whether the KSPT is an appropriate assessment tool for a specific client.

Training and certification

The KSPT should be administered by an ASHA certified speech-language pathologist who has engaged in training with administering this assessment. That includes observation of administration procedures and familiarization with the examiner’s manual and test booklet.

The SLP should also have knowledge and education about motor speech disorders, including how the assessment of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) differs from assessment of speech sound disorders such as articulation or phonological disorders.

Kaufman offers courses, materials, and services for training that may be helpful for SLPs planning to administer the KSPT.

The Kaufman Speech Praxis Test (KSPT) is a valuable assessment tool that evaluates a child’s motor speech skills. It can be used to identify and diagnose childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), developing goals, and measuring progress.

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Oliveira, A. M. D., Nunes, I., Cruz, G. S. D., & Gurgel, L. G. (2021). Methods of assessing of childhood apraxia of speech: systematic review. Audiology-Communication Research, 26.

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