Childhood Apraxia of Speech
What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?
Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. These children have difficulties producing certain sounds and words. This is likely due to the brains having planning difficulties to move the body parts that are required for speech.
What are some signs or symptoms of Apraxia of Speech?
- Inconsistent speech errors
- Difficulty imitating speech – but production of imitated speech is clearer than spontaneous speech
- May appear to be groping when attempting to produce sounds or to coordinate the muscles required for speech
- Increasing difficulty producing longer words or phrases
- May sound monotonous and have difficulty with the stresses of the word
How can we help?
We will conduct an oro- motor assessment and a speech assessment to identify the sounds that the child has difficulty with producing. Subsequently, we will also look into the child’s production of stress syllables in words and sentences.
Children with CAS have more improvement when they receive frequent and intensive therapy. Intervention focuses on improving the motor planning, coordination as well as sequencing of the muscles required for speech.
New research data revealed that there is a significant increase in children diagnosed with speech and language delays or disorders in the recent years. We want to encourage parents to avoid the 'wait and see' approach that is all too common with speech and language disorders. The earlier we reach a child, the more successful, the less expensive, and the shorter the course of treatment. By delaying an assessment and/or treatment to see if a child outgrows a potential disorder, parents may be missing a key window of opportunity. This is why it is important for parents to educate themselves about the signs and seek an assessment from a speech therapist if they have any concern.