Childhood apraxia of speech is medical condition which causes children to have difficulties with speaking. CAS, as this condition is also known, makes the child unable to speak sounds, syllables or words because of the problem in the brain. These children know what they want to say, but they brain can’t coordinate and plan different movements of the muscles in the lips, tongue, jaw and other parts of the body necessary to produce these sounds and words. Patients suffering from CAS usually don’t know what has caused this condition simply because the doctors don’t know that either. In some cases, brain injuries, stroke and genetic disorders or syndromes have been identified as the causes of childhood apraxia of speech.
Recognize CAS Symptoms
Symptoms of CAS depend on the child suffering from this problem and you have to take your child to speech-language pathologist to be properly tested for this condition. Infants with CAS usually don’t babble as other young kids and most of them are able to produce only several vowels and consonants. Some kids may even try to replace sounds they find difficult to make with some easier sounds or even completely delete these hard-to-make sounds.
Older children suspected to have CAS usually have problems to say longer words and always make inconsistent sound errors. When these kids try to imitate something they have heard, this is usually more precise than something they say themselves. In attempts to produce sounds or coordinate lips, jaw and tongue to say something, older kids with CAS may be heard to fumble.
If there are some problems with reading, spelling and writing, your child may also be suffering from this condition. Weakness of the lips, jaw and tongue and hypersensitivity of the mouth (when the child avoids crunchy food or even brushing the teeth) could also lead to conclusion or suspicion to childhood apraxia of speech.
Treatment of this condition is usually focused to plan, sequence and coordinate the muscles in order to help the child to speak properly. There are also some exercises to make these muscles stronger. These kids need to involve different senses and cues in this learning process. They could see themselves in the mirror or hear themselves speaking and making the sounds. If necessary, kids may learn sign language and use computer to write and produce speech as well, at least for some time. After some time, as the therapy progresses, children usually don’t need these aids in such extent.
This condition doesn’t have a cure but can be improved significantly. Support from the family and surrounding is also found to be very important for these kids.