Childhood apraxia of speech

What is childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)?
Childhood apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS exhibit some degree of disrupted speech motor control, which results in speech that is difficult for others to understand. They often exhibit difficulty sequencing speech movements.

What are some key characteristics of childhood apraxia of speech?

  • Limited consonant and vowel repertoire
  • Poor intelligibility
  • Presence of vowel distortions
  • Use of simple syllable shapes
  • Difficulty completing a movement for a single sound easily, but unable to produce the same sound in longer words or in phrases and sentences
  • Physical difficulties are observed when attempting to move into certain articulatory positions

What to expect during an evaluation
During a 60-minute evaluation, the speech-language pathologist (SLP) will collect information about you child’s medical history, developmental milestones, and your concerns. Depending on your child’s age and communication skills, the SLP may also:

  • Listen to your child talk during play activities
  • Engage your child in conversation to see how they produce sounds in sentences
  • Administer standardized speech production testing, which typically involves your child naming a series of pictures
  • Observe your child when they attempt to imitate words upon request
  • Assess your child’s oral structures at rest
  • Assess expressive and receptive language

What to bring to the evaluation

  • Speech-language in-take packet
  • Copies of previous evaluations, including the IEP/IFSP if your child is receiving services through the Birth to Three program or school
  • Results from a recent hearing test (if available)

What to expect during therapy to treat childhood apraxia of speech
Based on results of your child’s evaluation, speech-language therapy may be recommended to help your child speak more clearly and move more efficiently. Therapy activities typically include working on sounds in simple syllables, then progressing to more complex words, phrases, sentences, and ultimately conversational speech. Many of our speech-language pathologists are trained in PROMPT. Depending on your child’s age and abilities, activities may be completed during play or in more structured ways such as seated at a table.

At Children’s, we believe that it is very important for families to be involved in all aspects of their child’s care. Depending on the child’s needs, parents are encouraged to view the sessions via monitors, observation mirrors, or in the therapy room. In addition, your child’s speech-language pathologist will discuss progress, provide worksheets for home practice, and demonstrate beneficial therapy techniques to ensure maximum benefit is received from therapy.

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