Imagine. Imagine for one moment that you are the parent of a young kiddo whose speech is severely unintelligible. People who aren't around your child on a regular basis have a hard time understanding what he says. They look to you to for an interpretation. There are times when even you as a parent can't quite figure out what your child is trying to say. Your child is getting frustrated. You are getting frustrated. No matter what you do it just doesn't seem to be getting any better. Your child seems to understand language, but expressively the sounds and syllables of their words seem to be off target. You consult a speech language pathologist (“SLP”), who uses the term “apraxia” as a possible reason for your child’s speech difficulties—but what is apraxia?
What is Apraxia?
The Childhood Apraxia Speech Association of North America gives the following definition: "Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder that first becomes apparent as a young child is learning speech. For reasons not yet fully understood, children with apraxia of speech have great difficulty planning and producing the precise, highly refined and specific series of movements of the tongue, lips, jaw and palate that are necessary for intelligible speech. Apraxia of speech is sometimes called verbal apraxia, developmental apraxia of speech, or verbal dyspraxia. No matter what name is used, the most important concept is the root word “praxis.” Praxis means planned movement. To some degree or another, a child with the diagnosis of apraxia of speech has difficulty programming and planning speech movements. Apraxia of speech is a specific speech disorder. This difficulty in planning speech movements is the hallmark or “signature” of childhood apraxia of speech."
The challenge and difficulty that children with apraxia have in creating speech can seem very confusing to parents, especially when they observe the skill of learning to speak developing seemingly without effort in other children.
However, with early and appropriate treatment, children with apraxia can make gains in their ability to communicate with others. If you have questions about apraxia of speech, feel free to call SpeechAbility and see how we might be able to help your child.
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