July 20, 2018
Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a disorder in children in which they have difficulty positioning their tongue, lips and jaw to make intelligible speech sounds. It is unique in that it is a speech disorder that is neurologically-based. Meaning, the child does not have any weakness with the parts of their mouth - they have no difficulty chewing or swallowing for example. Instead the problem occurs when the part of the brain that controls motor-planning difficulty programming and planning speech movements.
The child’s speech is difficult to understand due to trouble putting speech sounds together (e.g., /c - a - t / for “cat”). Longer phrases, sentences or words are even more difficult for the child to say, because of the additional motor planning required which causes more errors. In addition, the child may be able to produce a sound or word correctly one time, but not be able to say it correctly the next time.
As stated, a child with CAS doesn't have difficulty with moving their mouth for non-speech movements like chewing, licking or swallowing. Yet they may have difficulty with other motor skills like coloring and cutting. The difficulty children with CAS have may also later impact language development and even result in reading and spelling problems as the child enters school. Therefore, early and frequent is important to help minimize the impact of CAS.
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In the resources below are resources and information for parents who might suspect their child has CAS. It is important to note that CAS is a relatively uncommon disorder, so accurate diagnosis is very important in order to treat the child correctly.
3 Criteria for Apraxia of Speech - Accurate Diagnosis is Key
CAS is a unique disorder and it is not like a speech delay. So diagnosis is critical since treatment for CAS versus a speech delay is different. It is crucial to get a diagnosis and treatment from a speech therapist trained specifically in CAS. In this post you'll learn about the 3 criteria for an accurate diagnosis .
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