How Can Speech Therapy Help With Childhood Apraxia Of Speech?

How Can Speech Therapy Help With Childhood Apraxia Of Speech? | Voz Speech Therapy Services Bilingual Speech Therapist Clinic Washington DC

Your brain does a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to producing speech noises.

Before you can speak, your brain sends messages to your mouth telling it which muscles to move and how to move them to produce sound.

Sounds simple, right?

Well, for kids living with a speech sound disorder, this process is anything but.

One such disorder is childhood apraxia of speech.

If your child has been diagnosed with apraxia of speech, you know just how hard it is for them to effectively communicate.

It can prevent them from going on to life a fulfilling life.

Fortunately, there is help.

At Voz Speech Therapy, we offer speech therapy for kids designed to help your child overcome their speech difficulties.

That includes speech sound disorders treatment, as well as other speech disorders.

Let’s take a look at childhood apraxia of speech.

What Is Childhood Apraxia Of Speech?

Childhood apraxia of speech is a speech sound disorder which interferes with your brain’s ability to send messages to your mouth.

It may also be referred to as verbal dyspraxia or developmental apraxia.

The condition impacts your child’s ability to coordinate the complex oral movements necessary for speech.

They might look as if they’re trying to say the right word but can’t quite get it out.

Interestingly, this condition typically has nothing to do with muscle weakness.

Children with apraxia of speech generally have good muscle strength in their mouth.

However, they may struggle to move their lips and tongue in the right way.

In other words, they know what they want to say, they just can’t say it.

Subsequently, they end up being unable to say much at all.

How To Tell If Your Child Has Apraxia Of Speech?

No two children with apraxia of speech will present exactly the same.

Some children show many symptoms, some very few, and some show none.

Nevertheless, research finds that many children with childhood apraxia of speech present with 3 common symptoms:

  • Speech with inconsistent errors, such as saying the same word differently each time
  • Difficulty producing longer, more complex words and phrases
  • Difficulty with timing, rhythm, and flow of speech

Additionally, childhood apraxia of speech may cause related symptoms, such as:

  • Delays in speech development, such as delays in saying their first words and sounds
  • Not being able to make certain speech sounds
  • Vowel sound errors
  • Excessive movement of the mouth in attempt to position the mouth to speak
  • Persistent regression in the number of words produced
  • More difficulty performing automatic speech, such as saying “hello” and “goodbye”
  • Adding unnecessary sounds or switching sounds when speaking
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills
  • Issues with reading, spelling, and writing

What Causes Childhood Apraxia Of Speech?

In most cases, the exact cause is unknown.

There’s just something interfering with the child’s ability to pass messages from their brain to their mouths to produce speech.

Some children with apraxia of speech develop the condition following some sort of damage.

This may include brain damage due to a genetic brain disorder or syndrome, from a stroke, or traumatic brain injury during or after birth.

Further research may help shed more light on this disorder in order to better learn how to prevent and treat it.

How Is Childhood Apraxia Of Speech Diagnosed?

Your child’s speech therapist can screen for apraxia of speech.

They’ll start by testing your child’s speech and language abilities.

This helps to narrow down the possibilities, and check for other disorders that might also be present.

From there, they’ll test your child’s oral motor skills, intonation, and how they say different sounds.

This includes testing both how your child pronounces sounds on their own versus combined in syllables and words.

They’ll also work to rule out other disorders.

Childhood apraxia of speech actually has very similar symptoms to another speech sound disorder, dyspraxia.

The difference is in the cause.

Dyspraxia is a weakness in the muscles your child uses to make speech sounds.

On the other hand, childhood apraxia of speech is caused by an issue in the part of your child’s brain that controls their speech muscles.

So your child’s speech therapist will screen for each of those.

Hearing impaired kids will sometimes show similar symptoms for apraxia of speech as well.

So your child’s speech therapist may consult with an audiologist to be sure.

RELATED: How Does Hearing Impairment Affect Development For Children?

What Is Childhood Apraxia Of Speech? | Voz Speech Therapy Services Bilingual Speech Therapist Clinic Washington DC

Is Childhood Apraxia Of Speech Related To Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopment disorder caused by differences in the brain affecting communication and behavior.

Since it’s a spectrum, its characteristics also range.

However, it’s common for autistic children to experience speech and language difficulties.

For instance, many autistic children have delayed speech skills, whereas others remain entirely non verbal.

So, you might be able to see why the two sometimes get confused.

Autistic children may sometimes be misdiagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech and vice versa.

However, it’s more common for autistic children to have apraxia of speech.

If your child does have both, your speech therapist will take this into account while treating them.

How Can A Speech Therapist Help?

Pediatric speech therapists are skilled at helping children with apraxia of speech learn how to better communicate verbally.

The goal of speech therapy for childhood apraxia of speech is to help your child produce sounds, words, and sentences more clearly and coherently.

Your child will learn how to plan to produce the movements necessary to say sounds and make those movements at the appropriate time.

Your child’s therapist may also incorporate different cues to aid in therapy, such as:

  • ”Touch” cues, like placing a finger to their lips to remind them to close them
  • ”Visual” cues”, like watching themselves in the mirror as they pronounce sounds
  • ”Listening” cues, like recording their voices and then listening to hear if they made the sounds correctly

Finally, your child’s speech therapist can help with family support and other resources, such as helping your child get the resources they need in school.

Will Your Child Outgrow Childhood Apraxia Of Speech?

There are many things that can go away on their own, such as colds or cuts and bruises.

However, childhood apraxia speech isn’t one of them.

Without treatment, your child won’t learn how to properly make the sounds necessary for speech.

Ultimately, this can have consequences on their future life, such as employment difficulties and self esteem issues.

That’s why early intervention is so important.

If you suspect your child has apraxia of speech, it’s important to…

Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today

Does your child struggle to produce speech sounds?

Do they look as if they have the right word on the tip of their tongue but can’t get it out?

If so, they might have childhood apraxia of speech.

Through early intervention, we can help get your child’s speech back on track.

Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today.

Voz Speech Therapy
1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005

(202) 734-4884

Voz Speech Therapy is a pediatric bilingual speech therapy clinic in Washington, DC that provides individualized services based on the specific needs of your or your child. Therapy sessions are provided in English or Spanish, depending on your child’s native language. Voz Speech Therapy es una clínica pediátrica bilingüe de terapia del habla en Washington, DC que brinda servicios individualizados según las necesidades específicas de usted o su hijo. Las sesiones de terapia se brindan en inglés o español, según el idioma nativo de su hijo.

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