Apraxia of Speech
Apraxia of Speech is a neurological speech disorder.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech:
This is often abbreviated as CAS. It is also called Developmental Apraxia of Speech (DAS). This one can be tricky to diagnose. The child usually has a history of being a quiet baby. He may not be able to move his tongue, lips or jaw on command, even though he tries to do so and there is no muscle impairment. A child may not be able to produce or sequence speech sounds.
A few hallmarks of CAS:
-difficulty in producing vowels
-inconsistent speech sound errors
-reluctance to talk
-speech that is difficult to understand.
The child may use words episodically, that is say a word one time and then not use it again. The child with apraxia of speech may learn to use speech sounds in a different order than typical children. He may have unusual intonation or cadence to his speech. The child may understand what you say and play well but say very little.
Apraxia of speech differs from a phonological disorder because the child’s errors can be random rather than just using the wrong "rule". It can be tricky to figure this out. For this reason, CAS is not diagnosed until age 3 years.
· The child wants something. He uses a random set of phonemes (e.g, “mana mana mana”). The parent does not know what he wants and cannot understand him. This can result in frequent communication breakdown and eventual refusal to even try to talk.
· For an excellent description of both CAS and dysarthira in children, watch the following YouTube video: Differentiating Apraxia from other Motor Speech Disorders by Rozanne Israel.
Acquired Apraxia of Speech:
Can cause immediate deterioration in a person’s speech intelligibility. Often the result of a stroke or other brain injury, acquired apraxia of speech is the loss of the ability to position and move the articulators and/or to produce and sequence speech sounds. It can cause mild to severely impaired speech and a great deal of frustration.
· For an excellent demonstrsation of acquired apraxia, watch the following YouTube video: Apraxia 1 by crazylj95. The individual, who is being evaluated, demonstrates oral apraxia, which is difficulty moving his lips, tongue and jaw to command. He also demonstrates some apraxia of speech as evidenced by his difficulty repeating words.
Tips for Parents of Children who have CAS:
Give your child your undivided attention during play several times a day.
Sit face-to-face so that you are more likely to pick up on your child's visual cues.
Use a slow speech rate, short sentences, facial expressions and gestures to model multi-modality communication.
Play more; say less.
Offer choices when you are not sure what your child has said.