Sometimes children are late-talkers, but sometimes more. Conditions like childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) do not organically ‘get better’ in time. Children with communication disorders often demonstrated anxiety, frustration, and at times depression when not able to get their needs met. These difficult feelings can be displayed through their behavior. In order to ease frustration there are many effective tools and resources a child can learn. If you have questions or concerns regarding your child’s language acquisition, please seek a referral to a qualified speech language pathologist to properly assess and treat your child.
Here are 7 facts about verbal apraxia of speech:
1. Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), sometimes called verbal dyspraxia, is a speech disorder in which the brain has difficulties getting the tongue, lips, and jaw to move correctly for talking. Children with the disorder know what they want to say, but can't coordinate the muscle movements needed to make the sounds, syllables, and words.
2. Talk, play, sing, or read together. These activities help your child's brain develop. Make reading a part of your child's daily routine. A child with CAS can usually understand speech to a far greater extent than they can express themselves verbally.
3. The only effective means to treat CAS is early, appropriate, frequent and intensive speech therapy. Interview a few speech language pathologists before starting treatment. Select someone your child is comfortable with and has the understanding, skills, training, and experiences to be successful with children with apraxia.
4. Approximately 2 children in 1,000 are affected by CAS and it affects more boys than girls. Children with CAS are at increased risk for language impairments and fine and gross motor impairments which can increase academic, social, and even vocational challenges.
5. The diagnosis of CAS can be misleading as the condition can and often does impact a child into adulthood, even when significant intelligible gains are made. Many adults report having to be mindful of their words or struggling with verbal sounds or words, on occasion.
6. Children with CAS may benefit from the use of alternative forms of communication, sign language, and communication boards to make themselves understood. The need for this depends on the severity of the condition., Therapists (SLP) may recommend practices such as saying the words while signing to coordinate the necessary muscle movements.
7. Children with apraxia are at risk for bullying, just like many other students with special needs, it is important to develop good lines of communication between home and school. Encourage teachers to try to create opportunities for collaboration and friendships with classmates. CAS may require more wait time or alternative ways of presenting information in the classroom and the playground. As a parent of a CAS child, I want to remind parents as we advocate for then, we must nurture their spirit and never put limits on their potential. The plan we have for them may be the very thing that limits them. Never forget that they are whole as they are, we are the ones that have to learn to listen differently.
About the Author: Dana Hall is a clinical therapist, author, and proud ‘Apraxia Mom.’ She successfully leverages her clinical work with social justice advocacy for inclusion and trauma-informed practices in education and counseling. She wrote Beyond Words, to stress the importance of ‘listening with your heart,’ using one’s senses to slow down and use patience, when communicating with neurologically diverse children and adults. One of her most fulfilling moments was being asked to be a guest reader (virtually) in her son’s 1st grade classroom! Proving Beyond Words is a great tool to read aloud to promote inclusion, acceptance, and kindness! She welcomes you to follow her work at DanaLHall.com.
Let’s Connect: Amazon Link: Beyond Words: A Child's Journey Through Verbal Apraxia by Dana Hall FB Community: @BeyondWordsApraxia Free Educational Materials/Handouts From Book KindnessMatters Here is a reading of BeyondWords: Storytime and the Three Bears Read Beyond Words A Parent Perspective on Apraxia of Speech: TheLavaMonster&TheSlide
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