Our CEPT Tip of the Month for January is all about Childhood Apraxia of Speech.
What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?
Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a long term for a speech disorder that means a child may have difficulty making the movements needed for speech. Specifically, they have trouble with the planning and programming of the movements their muscles need to make in order to speak. This may include control of the movements of the lips, jaw, and vocal folds. Without being able to move these muscles properly, you can’t make the sounds necessary to speak. We call it “apraxia” when there is a disconnect in this ability to plan and program these movements. Apraxia can affect both speech production and speech intonation.
Early Signs To Look For
Some of the early signs of childhood apraxia of speech might be decreased babbling or even a lack of babbling. When other babies are babbling away, these kiddos might not be making as much noise. A child with apraxia might also have trouble imitating very simple words. You might see them make some groping movements, as they try to put the tongue and jaw into the right position. You might also see some “ghost words,” as the child might say a word, but then not be able to say it again. The word “disappears,” like a ghost.
Other Warning Signs
Children with apraxia of speech might also have limited intonation, meaning their speech might sound like a monotone. You might also hear them make vowel errors when they do produce words, or hear them stress words incorrectly. You might also hear them segmenting syllables or words, saying each piece instead of blending the whole word together.
What To Do If Your Child Shows These Signs
If you think your child shows any of these signs, you can have them evaluated by a speech-language pathologist who can determine the best approach for treatment. Most likely this will be a motor-based learning approach. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call! We can evaluate your child and determine the best type of therapy for them.