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Cycles approach in Voca Quest

What is the Cycles approach?

The cycles approach is an evidence-based way to treat phonological disorders in children. Developed by Barbara Hodson, it treats phonological processes instead of individual sounds. Phonological processes are patterns of sound errors that are usually used by developing children as they are learning to talk, and they are a means to simplify speech.


Who is it for?

The cycles approach has been designed for clients with highly unintelligible speech, including children who:

  • Frequently leave out or omit speech sounds

  • Replace some sounds with other sounds

  • Don’t use very many different consonant sounds

  • Have apraxia/Dyspraxia

  • Have hearing Impairment

  • Have cognitive delay (but with potential for speech)


How does it work?

In the Cycles Approach, cycles are a period of time in which patterns are targeted in a cyclical way. In the Cycles Approach, phonemes are used to target patterns.


How to build a Cycles Approach treatment plan?

Voca Quest offers 3 ways for SLPs to build a Cycles approach plan:

  1. If you already know what patterns your client has difficulties with, you can simply build your client’s plan by logging the phonological processes manually.

  2. If you don’t know what patterns to target, Voca Quest offers a Cycles approach screener to identify the phonological processes to target.

  3. Lastly, you can generate a Cycles approach plan from the report of the Speech Sound Screener. Voca Quest highlights the sound errors, compares the age of acquisition with your client’s age, and translates them into Phonological processes to build a Cycles treatment plan.


Speech Sound Screener report

Cycles approach screener

Cycles approach screener report



How to prioritize the phonological processes?

Criteria depend on each client and SLP, but these are some selection criteria:


The Cycles Approach session

Cycles Approach sessions are structured in a very specific way:

  1. Review stage: A set of flashcards to review the words practiced in the previous session.

  2. Auditory bombardment: Auditory stimulation where the SLP reads or plays 12 words that contain the target pattern for the session.

  3. Target word: The SLP and client select a few words and drag them into their backpack to practice them in the next stage.

  4. Practice through Play: The SLP and client take turns playing and practicing the words they selected in the previous stage. There are a few games available in Voca Quest, including Snakes and Ladders, Spinner wheel, and Memory match.

  5. Auditory bombardment: Repeat the Auditory bombardment stage.

  6. Stimulability probe: The SLP and client select a few words targetting the next phonological process and drag them into their backpack to practice them in the next in-clinic session.


Auditory bombardment

Attach a recording to the word cards in Auditory bombardment

Cycles approach homework

Another important aspect of the Cycles approach is regular practice. At the end of each session face-to-face, homework sessions are automatically scheduled so that your client can practice every day until your next in-clinic session.