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Childhood Apraxia of Speech – How Do I Know If My Child Has It?

Nearly every parent that comes to me with a toddler who has a speech delay asks me the same thing: “Do you think s/he has apraxia?”

Childhood apraxia of speech or CAS is a neurological speech sound disorder in which speech movements are impaired by deficits in reflexes and tone of the speech mechanism. CAS is caused by neurological impairment, either developmental or acquired from an injury.  The impairment is displayed through errors in speech sound production and prosody.

This disorder is not as common as many believe. It is often marked by some or all of the following; groping, drooling, a change in vowels, and different productions of the same words over time (dog –> dod, da, gog, did). More often, children have a phonological processing disorder which is marked by similar production of the same word over time (dog –> dod, dod, dod) and similar errors across words (g is always produced d). 

CAS is often over-diagnosed and under-treated. There are many tell-tale signs of both disorders but the only people who should ever diagnose and treat CAS are trained speech-language pathologists. If your child is still highly unintelligible by age 3, it may be time to make an appointment with a speech-language pathologist.

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About Express Yourself SLP

Express Yourself Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) offers treatment, prevention, advocacy, education, and administration, in the areas of communication and swallowing from birth through 18 years of age These are the areas of speech, language and feeding I work on with chidlren in their own homes or in the community: Articulation – finding the right place in the mouth to make a sound like /s/ or /r/. Expressive Language – grammar, vocabulary development, and language development (this might be sign language or verbal language) Disfluency (stuttering) – decreasing and eliminating disfluency and concomitant behaviors associated with stuttering. Feeding – increasing food repetoire including textures, colors, and flavors. Receptive Language - comprehension of verbal or signed language Social Language – understanding and implementing expected social rules in play and conversation. This can be individually or in groups with peers Sessions are 50 minutes. Parents or caregivers must be present when sessions are in the home. If the caregiver would like a community outting, the child must be driven to the desired location by a caregiver or it should be within walking distance of the home. Parents or caregivers are also welcome and encouraged to join in community outtings.

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