Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder that inhibits a child’s ability to plan and sequence the muscle movements necessary for speech. CAS may be present even if the muscles required for speech are working properly, have normal strength and range of motion, and are structurally intact.
CAS is a rare disorder, with an estimated prevalence rate of 1-2.5 per 1,000 children. It’s more common in boys than girls, with a ratio of 3:1. Although some children may show symptoms as early as infancy, most children are diagnosed between the ages of 2 and 4 years.
What Are the Signs of CAS?
Because the disorder affects the planning and programming of movements rather than the individual muscles themselves, signs can vary greatly from child to child. Some common characteristics include:
- Limited babbling or lack thereof
- Difficulty imitating sounds or words
- Hard time producing consonants or vowels
- Difficulty with words that begin with more than one consonant (e.g., frog) or end with consonant blends (e.g., last)
- Difficulty sequencing sounds in multisyllabic words
If your child has been diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech, you are likely an extremely concerned and involved parent. Your child’s speech therapist will work with you and your child to help him or her learn how to control their face muscles, tongue, lips, and jaw. Through this control, your child will be able to speak clearly and expressively.
Apraxia is a motor speech disorder. Children with apraxia of speech (CAS) have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.
Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. Children with childhood apraxia of speech have problems saying sounds, syllables and words. This often makes it difficult for others to understand what the child is saying.
Children with CAS know what they want to say but have trouble coordinating the muscle movements necessary for speech. They also may not be able to correctly sequence the sounds in a word. The child may have a hard time making changes between sounds or when adding or taking away sounds in words.
Children with CAS have difficulty planning and coordinating the muscle movements needed to speak clearly. They have trouble making their bodies do what they want them to do, such as move their lips or tongue in the right way to make a sound.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.
CAS is a special type of speech sound disorder (SSD). As you may know, SSDs can occur in children who have no other developmental problems. Therefore, SSDs are not considered to be learning disabilities.
Children with CAS have trouble speaking because they have 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. Simply put: their brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary for speech.