What Parents Need To Know About CAS
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is also known as Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (DVD) or Developmental Apraxia of Speech (DAS). It is not a muscular disorder, nor is a cognition disorder (i.e.- difficulty in perception and learning and reasoning). The following traits are commonly seen in a child suffering from CAS:
- Unusually little or no cooing and babbling
- Much delay in speaking
- Making sounds for few consonant and vowel sounds
- Struggles to combine words
- Shows eating problems
- Difficulty in imitating sounds
- Speaking imitated sounds easily than learning and speaking
- Understanding a language is much better than producing a sound of a language
- Slow, struggling or halting speech
- Speech spoken is hard to understand by outsiders
- Making very slow progress in therapy
- Spontaneous production of sound becomes easy than creative or voluntary speech
- Child must have a harder time trying to express his things
- The child feels it difficult to manage repeating the same words or lines again on request or requirement
What Parents Should Do For A CAS Child:
Parents need to search for any of the above symptoms in their child and take immediate action to get their child diagnosed and treated by a speech pathologist. No need to jump into immediate conclusion at once. Take help of your Speech Pathologist to help you.
Never put any pressure on your child to communicate. Try to put a minimum communication pressure on your child by avoiding saying words like – “Say it again” and many other. Try for some low-pressure verbal activities. It can be a very good help for the child. Make him listen to some repetitive songs like old McDonalds song, try finger-plays, poems, verbal routines, repetitive books like Little Bear, daily routines activities like prayers and social greetings.
Keep singing sweet songs or rhymes to him without irritating him. You can continue doing that while you are working at home. Your child will grab his attention to it. Repeat words like spoon spoon spoon, fork fork fork, chair chair chair and so on. Do not show out any loud reaction if you see your child singing with you. Be a silent spectator and remain unnoticed. Provide a supportive environment.
You can also use sign language or communication boards to let your child speak what he wants. It can reduce the level of frustration in your child arising due to his inability to communicate his demands and feelings. This would be a great help in development of speech. You cannot expect a steady and continuous progress. The progress may be fine in the initial stage and can be stagnant for few more time and then again gain speed later. No need to panic if immediate effects are not seen.
Causes Of Childhood Apraxia Of Speech:
The condition may be genetic or may have occurred due to any brain injury. Children do not outgrow this disorder. Something lacks in the child which do not allow the implementation of the brain’s instructions to move muscles to produce speech. The cause is quite unknown in most cases.
Very little information has been proved about Childhood Apraxia of Speech. The number of diagnosed cases are rising every year. But early age identification and early start of treatment would be very beneficial.