Childhood apraxia of speech is a speech disorder that makes it difficult for children to speak and communicate.
It affects their ability to make sounds and put them together into words and phrases.
It can be very difficult and overwhelming finding out that your child has childhood apraxia of speech.
But a speech therapist may be able to help with their condition and keep their development on track.
Here at District Speech, we offer speech therapy for kids to help them manage their speech disorder and help them regain their voice and independence.
Today we’ll be looking at the details about childhood apraxia of speech.
We’ll look at what it is, some frequently asked questions, and how speech therapy can help.
Continue reading to find out more.
What Is Childhood Apraxia Of Speech?
Childhood apraxia of speech, also commonly called CAS, is a neurological motor speech disorder.
It causes the brain to have difficulty carrying out the precise movements in the muscles needed for speech.
This includes movements in your tongue, jaw, hard and palates, diaphragm, vocal cords, and lips.
The issue isn’t that these muscles are weak, but that the brain can’t coordinate them to produce specific words and sounds.
Children with childhood apraxia of speech typically have a good understanding of language and know what they want to say.
However, the part of their brain that controls their speech muscles has difficulty with carrying out the precise movements needed for speech.
What’s The Difference Between Childhood Vs. Acquired Apraxia Of Speech?
Both childhood apraxia of speech and acquired apraxia of speech result in difficulty producing clear speech.
Like CAS, acquired apraxia of speech is a neurological speech disorder that limits the brain’s ability to coordinate the muscle movements required for speech.
The main difference between childhood apraxia of speech and acquired apraxia of speech is the cause.
Acquired apraxia of speech occurs later in life and is related to, or a symptom of, another condition.
Some conditions that can cause acquired apraxia of speech include:
- A brain tumor
- Surgical trauma
- Cognitive decline due to dementia
- A symptom of Parkinson’s disease
- A result of having had a stroke
- Traumatic brain injury, depending on the part of the brain affected
- Corticobasal degeneration
- Progressive supranuclear palsy
What’s The Difference Between Childhood Apraxia Of Speech And Dysarthria?
Both childhood apraxia of speech and dysarthria are motor speech disorders.
They also have similar symptoms.
However, the difference is in the cause.
With childhood apraxia of speech, the issue is a disconnect between your speech muscles and the part of the brain that controls them.
Dysarthria, on the other hand, is a weakness in the muscles themselves.
Your pediatric speech therapist will take the time to screen your child for one or the other before putting together a treatment plan.
What’s The Difference Between Childhood Apraxia Of Speech And A Speech Delay?
A developmental speech delay affects a child’s speech development rate.
They’re still on what is considered a “normal” path of developing speech, but do so at a slower rate than what is expected for their particular stage of development.
With childhood apraxia of speech, a child’s speech development is on an entirely different path.
It affects their ability to form words and sounds due to disrupted messages in the brain to their muscles.
It’s not just a delay in development like a speech delay.
Do Kids Outgrow Childhood Apraxia Of Speech?
Children with childhood apraxia of speech don’t grow out of it.
This means that left untreated, the condition will not typically resolve on its own.
However, depending on the severity of their disorder and other comorbid disorders, speech therapy can help.
Children with childhood apraxia of speech may be able to achieve clear verbal communication to some extent.
Early intervention can help address your child’s difficulties and implement strategies to significantly improve their speech.
Is Childhood Apraxia Of Speech Genetic?
We don’t fully understand what causes childhood apraxia of speech yet.
However, we do know that many children with the disorder have a family member with another type of speech disorder.
This suggests a genetic component, but research is ongoing to better understand what causes this condition.
Is Childhood Apraxia Of Speech A Form Of Autism?
The simple answer is that no, it isn’t.
Autism spectrum disorder and childhood apraxia of speech are two distinct disorders.
RELATED: What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
They have different symptoms, and different criteria for diagnosis.
However, a 2020 study found similarities in brain function between the two disorders.
As well, another study found that autistic children were more likely to be diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech.
We don’t yet fully understand why, but there seems to be a connection.
Do Speech Therapists Screen For Childhood Apraxia Of Speech?
Assessments can be carried out by a speech therapist when your child is at a typical speaking age and is having difficulties.
An experienced speech and language therapist can help test if your child has childhood apraxia of speech.
They will evaluate the extent to which your child understands and are receptive to language, as well the extent of their verbal communication ability.
A speech therapist will look at your child’s motor speech skills, speech melody, and oral motor skills.
These assessments can help them determine if your child may have childhood apraxia of speech.
If your child is nonverbal, however, they won’t be able to complete an assessment.
Can Kids With Childhood Apraxia Of Speech Learn To Speak Normally?
The main focus of speech therapy for childhood apraxia of speech is to help children produce more clear and articulate words, sounds, and phrases.
They can help children work on sequenced muscle movements of speech structures so that they can produce clearer speech.
This involves improving motor planning and coordination.
Depending on the severity of your child’s condition, it’s recommended to have frequent speech therapy sessions in order to help improve their speech ability.
Speech therapy can help children with childhood apraxia of speech communicate more clearly and effectively.
In some cases, they may need to use other methods of communication, such as sign language or augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) methods.
Early intervention is important in order to address the condition and decrease the risk of significant long term issues.
With early intervention and appropriate speech therapy methods, children with childhood apraxia of speech may be able to achieve age appropriate speech.
Book Your Appointment With District Speech Today
Have you noticed that your child is having difficulty speaking and suspect that they may have a speech disorder?
If this is the case, we can help.
At District Speech, our speech therapists have areas of special interest for a wide range of different speech disorders, including childhood apraxia of speech.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.