PEAK Speech Therapy Program

Discover our transformative speech therapy program, tailored to support individuals with Down syndrome overcome speech challenges and enhance their communication skills.

Parents Empowering Articulation In Kids (PEAK)​

DSACT’s Parents Empowering Articulation in Kids (PEAK) Speech Therapy program is an 18-month program designed to address unique communication challenges faced by individuals with Down syndrome to give them the confidence and communication skills needed to succeed. The first of its kind, we launched our PEAK program in January 2015. Since then, our program has been transforming our members’ lives!

This speech therapy program is: 

  • Parent-focused: You’ll participate in small group instruction so you learn the “nuts and bolts” of speech and speech therapy so they understand WHAT to work on, WHY to work on it, and HOW they can work on it. 
  • Individualized: Speech therapists assess and analyze each child/young adult’s speech to develop a customized home exercise program. This ensures your child’s patterns, needs, and deficits are addressed. 
  • Multifactorial: Our program has components to address nasality, motor planning, and muscle-based deficits – three areas commonly affected in individuals with Down syndrome. 
  • Hierarchical: You’ll start with the basics and work step-wise to more intelligible speech.
  • Eclectic: We use techniques and elements from multiple protocols and approaches – because one size does NOT fit all!
Registration for the 2024 program is now open.

Eligibility

  • Parent/guardian must attend a mandatory two hour orientation  session prior to the first session at Speak Freely.
  • Individual with Down syndrome must be between ages 4-25 years (child must be at least 4 years old at the start of the program)
  • Must be able to focus on therapy work, remain seated for a therapy session, behave compliantly, and be non-verbal or need improvement in speech clarity.
  • For each participant, one family member must commit to attend the therapy sessions alongside their child, and follow-through with therapy homework between sessions.
  • The program is located at the DSACT Office in Austin. Families must be able to travel to and from this location for services. DSACT is located at 4006 N Lamar Blvd; Austin, TX 78756 
  • Participants and helpers must agree to DSACT’s liability waiver upon registering for the program.

Testimonials

“The PEAK program has given my son the gift of being able to speak clearly, and this has changed his life. It has opened the door to Jack being able to leave Austin to go off to a college program, and then to succeed at employment where he is required to speak with colleagues and preschool students and be understood. Heidi, the Lead Speech Therapist that directs the program, was able to diagnose precisely what sounds he could already make, as well as what sounds he couldn’t yet make. Through a series of incremental exercises, she coached him on how to use his tongue, lips and jaw to make each new sound successfully. She would assign me homework with Jack between visits with her, and she could always tell whether we’d done the homework. In early elementary school, his teachers would often remark that they had trouble understanding a significant amount of Jack’s words. By middle school, I asked his teachers in an ARD if they had any trouble understanding him, and they all looked at each other mystified and said no, it wasn’t a problem at all. Which meant that Jack’s fellow students could understand him too — opening the door to real friendships with other kids! Ever since middle school, Jack has successfully tackled a great degree of independence and it’s mainly because I know he can speak for himself and be understood wherever he goes. The PEAK program’s impact on Jack’s life has truly been transformative.”

Suzanne Shepherd, DSACT Board Member