In order for speech to occur, messages need to go from your brain to your mouth. These messages tell the muscles how and when to move to make sounds. When a child has apraxia of speech, the messages do not get through correctly. The child might not be able to move their lips or tongue in the right ways, even though their muscles are not weak. Sometimes, the child might not be able to say much at all.
A child with CAS knows what they want to say. The problem is not how the child thinks but how the brain tells the mouth muscles to coordinate and move.
CAS is sometimes called verbal dyspraxia or developmental apraxia. Even though the word “developmental" is used, CAS is not a problem that children outgrow. A child with CAS will not learn speech sounds in typical order and will not make significant progress without treatment. While therapy can take a lot of time and hard work, child’s speech can improve with intensive intervention.
Not all children with CAS are the same. Your child may show some or all of the signs below. You should talk to your doctor and see an SLP if your child is older than 3 years and:
The goal of treatment is to help your child say sounds, words, and sentences more clearly. Your child will learn how to
Doing exercises to make the mouth muscles stronger will not help. Mouth muscles are not weak in children with CAS. Working on how to move those muscles to say sounds will help your child learn and develop more accurate neural pathways for motor planning of speech.
Your child must practice speaking to get better at it. It helps to use all the senses when learning how to say sounds. Your child may use
Treatment plans may also include the use of Alternative or Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices.