Difficulties with Verbal Language
Speech requires many complex motor movements that the body executes, most of the time, without thought. Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder in which there is a deficit in the ability to plan and execute these complex motor movements which make intelligible speech possible. CAS is characterized by inconsistent errors with speech sounds and a reduction in verbal language.
If this is a recent diagnosis for your child and you are looking for answers, the family start guide to CAS is a great resource to learn more about this disorder.
What does CAS look like?
Some children with CAS may speak in sentences but are hard to understand. Others may barely speak at all, and instead, rely on gestures to communicate. They have difficulty with the selection and sequencing of lexical units (related to words or vocabulary) and syntactic units (related to sentence structure).
This can be recognized as trouble with sound production, the order of sounds or syllable shapes, and sentence formation. Messy or picky eating and drooling can be manifestations of CAS as well, but it primarily will affect speech.
What’s the best therapy for CAS?
At Speech4Kids, therapy for apraxia is designed around the principles of motor learning. In a playful setting, we are able to prompt many repetitions while using specialized cueing techniques and targeted feedback to get the best practice. We know that children with apraxia need frequent practice to be successful, so an important part of our therapy is teaching families how to carry out these activities at home. If you have further questions about the differences between speech therapy and therapy for CAS, please read this explanation in the family start guide.