Speech Therapy

What Is Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Childhood Apraxia Of Speech (CAS) is a speech motor disorder, i.e.- problems in coordination between brain and other parts of the body. Their brain shows difficulty in planning to move body parts on requirement like – movement of jaw, lips, or tongue to speak and many more. Children with CAS have seen to make desired body movement comfortably but unknowingly, which they cannot do when they are required to do the same. They have difficulty producing speech sounds, remembering to make and putting up speech sounds becomes challenging, troubles in organizing speech sounds.

The number of patients with CAS is increasing very fast. This was stated by the Speech pathologists, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital; published in ScienceDaily (Oct. 30, 2007). 150 kids (7% of all speech therapy patients) were diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech in the year 2006 at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This number was double that was the previous year. The number of patients worldwide have shown an overall 13% increase from 2005-2006. In the US every 1-10 children suffer from CAS out of every 1000 children.

Signs And Symptoms Of Childhood Apraxia Of Speech:

All CAS patients do not show similar signs and symptoms. Below are the list of few of the signs and symptoms which may be seen in most of the patients. The following list of signs will help distinguishing them from other speech disorders.

Signs In A Very Young Child:

  • Does not coo or babble
  • Much delay in speaking the first word
  • Missing sounds while speaking first
  • Ability to produce only a few different consonant and vowel sounds
  • Difficulty in combining sounds
  • Placing long pauses between sounds
  • Replaces sounds that are hard to produce with easier ones to simplify the words
  • Eating problems

Signs In An Older Child:

  • Inconsistent and unusual sound errors
  • Understanding what others talk much better than talking himself
  • Difficulty in imitating speech
  • Imitated speech is more clear than normal speech
  • Appears uncertain when attempting to produce sounds (coordinating lips, jaw and tongue movement for purposeful activity)
  • Difficulty in saying longer words more than shorter ones
  • More difficulty in speaking when anxious or agitated
  • It gets difficulty for unfamiliar persons to understand their speech
  • Sounds choppy and monotonous
  • Often stresses on the wrong syllable

Other Symptoms:

  • Weakness of the lips, jaw and tongue
  • Delayed language development
  • Problems in Expressive language activities
  • Difficulty in organizing and framing word orders and recalling words.
  • Shows Hypersensitive or hyposensitive activities towards their mouths (i.e. may dislike brushing teeth, eat crunchy food etc.)
  • Facing tough time learning to read, write and spell

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