Speech Therapy For Childhood Apraxia Of Speech

Speech therapy for childhood apraxia of speech | Aurora Speech Clinic Speech Therapy Occupational Therapy Clinic Aurora Newmarket York Region Ontario

Speech sound disorders in children can be a source of frustration for the child and concern for their caregivers.

However, pediatric speech-language pathology can help your child develop clearer speech and provide you with strategies to support them at home.

At Aurora Speech Clinic, serving York Region with in person and virtual speech therapy services, we can help.

Our team of licensed speech-language pathologists includes those with an area of clinical focus on childhood apraxia of speech.

What Is Childhood Apraxia Of Speech?

Childhood apraxia of speech, abbreviated CAS, is a type of speech sound disorder.

More specifically, it is a type of motor speech disorder that is characterized by the child’s struggle to form words in a consistent and coordinated manner.

CAS results from difficulties with motor planning and programming related to speech.

That is, it impacts a child’s ability to plan and coordinate the precise movements of their mouth, lips, tongue, and vocal cords necessary for clear and intelligible speech.

In other words, the brain struggles to send the appropriate signals to these articulatory muscles.

This results in inconsistent and inaccurate movement gestures (resulting in speech sound errors).

It is important to note that in children with CAS, there is no underlying muscle weakness or difficulty with motor execution as seen in children with dysarthria, another type of motor speech disorder.

With other speech sound disorders, such as articulation or phonological delays, the child might simply have difficulty with specific sounds, in patterns that are more predictable.

What Causes Childhood Apraxia Of Speech?

In most cases there is no identifiable underlying reason a child develops childhood apraxia of speech.

In one third of cases however, the research points towards a genetic link.

How To Tell If Your Child Has Childhood Apraxia Of Speech?

Recognizing the signs of childhood apraxia of speech can be crucial in seeking early intervention.

If you suspect that your child may have childhood apraxia of speech, it’s important to seek a professional evaluation by a speech-language pathologist with additional training in pediatric motor speech disorders, including CAS.

Some common indicators of CAS in children may include the symptoms below:

Limited Repertoire Of Sounds

Children with CAS may have a limited range of speech sounds (including consonants and vowels) in their vocabulary.

Looking back in infancy, many parents of children with CAS report that their children babbled less or used fewer sounds when babbling, relative to other babies.

Inconsistent Speech

Inconsistencies are a key feature of CAS.

Children with childhood apraxia of speech may produce the same word differently each time they attempt to say it.

You may also notice they can pronounce certain sounds in some words but not others.

Distorted Speech Sounds

Children with CAS tend to distort their vowels and consonants or produce them in a way that doesn’t sound quite right.

Again, they may do so inconsistently, depending on other sounds nearby in the word.

Difficulty with Prosody

Children with CAS may have difficulty achieving typical stress patterns.

They may also segment their speech in a way that sounds choppy.

Difficulty with Sequencing Sounds

Kids with childhood apraxia of speech may struggle with more complex elements of speech.

This includes (but is not limited to) using consonant clusters (e.g., ‘sp’, ‘‘br’, and ‘fl’), multisyllabic words, or longer sentences.

You many notice that the longer the phrase gets, the more difficult the child is to understand.

Groping or Awkward Movement Transitions

Some children may exhibit unusual movements of their lips, tongue or jaw when initiating speech or moving between sounds in words.

These movements may be obvious or more subtle and identified only by a trained SLP.

Can Kids With CAS Have Other Communication Delays Or Disorders As Well?

Children with childhood apraxia of speech often have other speech and communication disorders.

Understanding and addressing these comorbidities is essential in providing comprehensive care for children with CAS.

Early identification and tailored interventions addressing both CAS and any other areas of difficulty can significantly improve your long term outcomes.

In some cases, intervention in the following disorders may include pediatric occupational therapy.

What causes childhood apraxia of speech? | Aurora Speech Clinic Speech Therapy Occupational Therapy Clinic Aurora Newmarket York Region Ontario

Phonological Disorders

Phonological disorders, which involve difficulties in organizing and using speech sounds in language, often co-occur with CAS.

Children with CAS may have trouble not only with motor planning, but they may demonstrate more predictable phonological errors that need addressing (e.g., using consistent consonant substitutions or deleting final consonants)

Language and Literacy Delays

Children with CAS are much more likely to have difficulties with language and literacy skill development.

As such, it is important to support acquisition of language skills at the same time the child is developing their speech motor skills.

Monitoring of early literacy skills is recommended.

Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory processing issues, such as hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to sensory stimuli, can be present in children with CAS.

These sensory difficulties can affect their ability to focus during therapy sessions and engage in daily activities.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Childhood apraxia of speech is sometimes seen in conjunction with autism spectrum disorder.

In these cases, the challenges of CAS may be compounded by social and communication difficulties commonly found in children with ASD.

Motor Coordination Disorders

Fine and gross motor coordination issues can be comorbid with childhood apraxia of speech.

These motor difficulties may affect a child’s ability to perform precise mouth movements necessary for speech.

How Can Speech Therapy For Childhood Apraxia Of Speech Help?

At Aurora Speech Clinic, therapy is personalized.

This includes:

  • A personalized assessment: A comprehensive evaluation determines the child’s unique challenges
  • Tailored strategies: Strategies focus on enhancing speech coordination
  • Regular practice: Repetition is key, both in therapy sessions and at home
  • Parental involvement: We equip parents with tools to support their child’s journey

Effective intervention will incorporate principles of motor learning and multisensory cueing and may include approaches such as:

Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems For Childhood Apraxia Of Speech

For some children, additional communication methods can be beneficial.

Systems like picture communication boards, speech generating devices, or sign language allow the child to express themselves while they work on improving their speech production skills.

While some parents fear that AAC may inhibit improvement of verbal speech, research shows the opposite is true.

How Long Does Speech Therapy For Childhood Apraxia Of Speech Take?

The therapy duration varies, depending on severity, child’s age, motivation, and therapy consistency.

That said, evidence suggests that intensive intervention leads to best outcomes in children with CAS.

When Should I Have My Child Assessed For Childhood Apraxia Of Speech?

If you suspect your child may have CAS, seek an assessment by a qualified speech-language pathologist immediately.

Early intervention ensures the best outcomes.

Book Your Appointment With Aurora Speech Clinic Today

CAS is challenging, but with the right intervention, children can progress significantly.

If you suspect your child may have CAS, seek a professional assessment.

Early intervention and continuous support help children with CAS achieve their communication potential.

At Aurora Speech Clinic, we’re here to help.

Book your appointment with Aurora Speech Clinic today.

Aurora Speech Clinic
372 Hollandview Trail, #302,
Aurora, ON L4G 0A5

(905) 503-4321
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Aurora Speech Clinic is located in Aurora, ON and offers personalized skilled intervention to those struggling with their speech and language skills. Services offered include screening, consultation, and comprehensive evaluation. We also provide one-on-one and/or group therapy for speech sound disorders, receptive/expressive language delay/disorder, stuttering/cluttering, accent reduction, and much more.