Childhood Apraxia of Speech

To speak, messages need to go from your brain to your mouth. These messages tell the muscles how and when to move to make sounds. If your child has apraxia of speech, the messages do not get through correctly. Your child might not be able to move his lips or tongue to the right place to say sounds, even though his muscles are not weak. Sometimes, he might not be able to say much at all. Apraxia is a motor speech disorder that makes it hard for children to speak. It can take a lot of work to learn to say sounds and words better. Speech-language pathologists, or SLPs, can help. Our therapists at A to Z Pediatric Therapy specialize in Childhood Apraxia of Speech and use the most current research in order to best serve your family.

What are the signs of Childhood Apraxia of Speech?

Not all children with CAS are the same. Your child may show some or all of the signs below.

You should talk to your doctor or see an SLP if:

Your child is younger than 3 years old and

  • Does not coo or babble as an infant.

  • Says her first words later than you think she should.

  • Says only a few different sounds.

  • Has problems putting sounds together.

  • Puts long pauses between sounds she says.

  • Does not always say a word the same way.

  • Has some problems eating.

Your child is older than 3 years old and

  • Does not always say words the same way each time he says them.

  • Can understand what others say to him better than he can talk.

  • Has problems imitating what others say. If he can imitate, those words will sound better than words he says on his own.

  • Seems like he has to move his lips, tongue, or jaw a few times to make sounds. This is called groping.

  • Has more trouble saying longer words clearly than shorter ones.

  • Seems to have more trouble talking when he is nervous.

  • Is hard to understand, especially for someone who doesn’t know him well.

  • Sounds choppy or flat. He may put the stress on the wrong syllable or word.

How Can We Help?

The goal of treatment is to help your child say sounds, words, and sentences more clearly. Our Speech-Language Pathologists will work with your child to learn how to plan the movements he/she needs to say sounds. Then we will focus on learning how to make those movements the right way at the right time. Doing exercises to make his mouth muscles stronger will not help. His muscles are not weak if he has CAS. Working on how to move those muscles to say sounds will help.

Helpful Resources: