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What is "childhood apraxia of speech"?


When we produce speech, messages are sent to the brain through complex pathways. Once the message reaches the brain, the brain sends signals to the different muscles within the mouth that help us produce speech. In children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), the pathways that are used to get the message from the brain to the different muscles within the mouth are not coordinating or working effectively. CAS is a pediatric neurological speech disorder that impacts the person’s ability to plan the relative speech movements required for speech production.

Causes: The cause of CAS is relatively unknown. It can be congenital or acquired as the child grows and develops their speech system.


Signs of CAS:

  • Inconsistent speech sound errors (e.g., produces “cat” as “hat”, “mat”, or “tat”).

  • Grouping – child may appear as if the muscles of speech (tongue, jaw, lip, etc.) are moving in various motions almost as if they are “searching” for the appropriate movement to produce the sound.

  • Lengthy pauses or transitions from one sound/word to the next.

  • Pattern and rhythm in speech production disrupted.

Assessment: Speech therapy may be warranted if a parent is concerned about their child’s speech. Consult with a Speech-Language Pathologist who will assess the child and determine both a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Treatment: Treatment for a child with CAS looks very similar to treatment with a child who is working solely on speech sounds. In a child with CAS, the SLP will likely use visual and tactile cues (e.g., using a mirror, utilizing finger/hand to indicate where the sound is produced within the speech system) to help the child plan the movements to produce appropriate and intelligible speech.

Contact All Care Therapies of Georgetown (https://www.allcaretherapygt.com/contact) for more information on scheduling.


References:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.). Childhood apraxia of speech. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/childhood-apraxia-of-speech/


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.-a). Childhood apraxia of speech. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. https://www.asha.org/practice-portal/clinical-topics/childhood-apraxia-of-speech/



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