Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder that first becomes apparent as a young child is learning speech. For reasons not yet fully understood, children with apraxia of speech have great 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. Apraxia of speech is sometimes called verbal apraxia, developmental apraxia of speech, or verbal dyspraxia. No matter what name is used, the most important concept is the root word “praxis.” Praxis means planned movement. To some degree or another, a child with the diagnosis of apraxia of speech has difficulty programming and planning speech movements. Apraxia of speech is a specific speech disorder. This difficulty in planning speech movements is the hallmark or “signature” of childhood apraxia of speech.”

Exactly how often the child should have speech therapy will vary according to the individual needs of each child. Children with CAS who have severely unclear or little speech and are more severely affected will require more therapy than those who have milder apraxia. Typically, experienced SLPs will suggest that a child with moderate to severe apraxia of speech have 3 – 5 times a week of individual speech therapy. The American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), the professional organization representing speech, language and hearing professionals, has agreed with this in its position paper on CAS.”

However, there ARE other considerations for the amount and frequency of speech therapy for a child with CAS:

  • the extent to which the child will practice at home with their parents or caregivers;
  • how much the child can individually tolerate;
  • How frequently the parents can bring their child to speech therapy, etc.
  • the presence of other speech and/or language difficulties

As a child begins to make progress in their ability to produce speech that is understood by others, the amount and frequency of therapy can be adjusted accordingly. As speech gets clearer and more abundant, therapy time can be gradually reduced. As a child’s speech moves from severely affected to moderately affected to mildly affected, the amount of speech therapy time targeting the apraxia can be gradually reduced.”

This information is from “A Beginner’s Start Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech”. http://www.apraxia-kids.org/guides/family-start-guide/ 5 August 2013

To learn more about therapy for Childhood Apraxia of Speech, call SpeechCare (717) 569-8972.