CHILDHOOD APRAXIA OF SPEECH (CAS)
CAS is a motor speech disorder, not due to muscle weakness or muscle paralysis. The brain has difficulty planning the oral muscle movements necessary for speech (i.e., jaw, lips, tongue). The child knows what he/she wants to say, but coordinating the muscle movements needed are extremely difficulty, usually resulting in extreme frustration. The signs of CAS are not all the same for all children. If you think your child may have CAS, please have them evaluated as soon as possible, as research indicates daily, intense intervention is key to success.
Some signs in a young child may include:
- Doesn’t coo or babble as an infant
- First Words are late, and they may be missing sounds
- Only a few different consonant and vowel sounds
- Problems combining sounds; may show long pauses between sounds
- Simplifies words by replacing difficult sounds with easier ones or by deleting difficult sounds (although all children do this, the child with apraxia of speech does so more often)
- May have problems eating
Some signs of an older child may be:
- Makes inconsistent sound errors that are not the result of immaturity
- Can understand language much better than he or she can talk
- Has difficulty imitating speech, but imitated speech is more clear than spontaneous speech
- May appear to be groping when attempting to produce sounds or to coordinate the lips, tongue, and jaw for purposeful movement
- Has more difficulty saying longer words or phrases clearly than shorter ones
- Appears to have more difficulty when anxious
- Is hard to understand, especially for an unfamiliar listener
- Sounds choppy, monotonous, or stresses the wrong syllable or word
Potential Other problems:
- Delayed language development
- Other expressive language problems like word order confusions and word recall
- Difficulties with fine motor movement/coordination
- Over sensitive (hypersensitive) or under sensitive (hyposensitive) in their mouths (i.e., may not like toothbrushing or crunchy foods, may stuff food in mouth before initiating chewing).
- Children with CAS or other speech problems may have problems when learning read, spell, and write.