Recognizing early signs of childhood apraxia of speech will allow you to get the treatment your child needs, such as speech therapy, and alternative communication methods. At South Shore Therapies, we offer coordinated, comprehensive therapy for childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) in Southern Massachusetts. We focus on treating childhood apraxia of speech in a nurturing, child-led environment, so that your child can participate in social relationships, schooling, and family events with success.
Childhood apraxia of speech is a rare speech disorder categorized by difficulty making accurate movements while speaking. This means that while the speech muscles aren’t weak, they don’t operate normally, causing difficulty in performing or coordinating movements. When children speak effectively, there is coordination between the child’s brain and the speech muscles that cause movement in the lips, jaw, and tongue. This movement results in accurate sounds and words that are spoken with a normal speech rhythm and speed. A speech language therapist can recognize early signs of childhood apraxia of speech and provide intervention and therapy that can help a child communicate and improve their overall quality of life.
The early signs of childhood apraxia of speech are delayed onset of first words, a limited number of spoken words, and the ability to only form a few consonants or vowels. Parents may notice these symptoms in children as young as 15 months. In children ages two and four years old, symptoms or signs of childhood apraxia of speech might include vowel and consonant distortion, separation of syllables in or between words, and vocal errors in speech. Other speech disorders can cause similar problems in young children, but certain symptoms or characteristics of speech can distinguish childhood apraxia of speech from other disorders:
● Trouble moving smoothly between speech sounds or syllables
● Groping or a-typical movements of the jaw, lips, or tongue
● Emphasizing words or syllables incorrectly, or using the same emphasis on all syllables
● Separating syllables
● Trouble imitating simple words and syllable combinations
Childhood apraxia of speech can develop after a brain injury or condition, like a stroke, infection, or traumatic brain injury. In the vast majority of case, however, the cause of childhood apraxia of speech is idiopathic.
You should speak with a speech therapist as soon as your child is diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech or if you suspect your child may have CAS. Only a licensed speech-language pathologist can formally diagnose a child with CAS. The sooner you seek treatment, the better your child’s chances of improving their language abilities. For severe childhood apraxia of speech, your child may need intensive speech therapy. All children who have been diagnosed with CAS benefit from some form of individualized speech therapy.
In addition to treatment for childhood apraxia of speech, we also offer a wide variety of other pediatric therapy modalities to meet the unique needs of our clients and their families. Before designing a therapeutic program, we work very closely with your family to identify specific needs, goals, lifestyle, and schedule so that we can create a program that enhances your child’s overall well-being and helps them live a happier, healthier life.
At South Shore Therapies, we create a therapeutic process that is fun, stimulating, and interactive, and works for both children and their families. We believe that pediatric therapy is a group effort and teamwork is essential, so while our therapeutic spaces are designed for children with communication delays and disorder, they also facilitate and encourage coordination with family and siblings. We also work closely with each child’s medical team, teachers, and other therapists to facilitate progress.
If you’re ready to investigate treatment options for childhood apraxia of speech in Southern Massachusetts, contact South Shore Therapies today. We specialize in sensory integration intervention, occupational therapy, speech-language related therapy, pediatric intervention, and more. We’re committed to helping parents, families, and caregivers navigate a diagnosis of childhood apraxia of speech and find the right therapy. You can contact us today to learn more.