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Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) 

What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

Apraxia of Speech (CAS) belongs to a group of speech sound disorders called Motor Speech Disorders, that makes it hard to speak.

In order for us to talk, messages need to go from our brains to our mouths. These messages tell the muscles how and when to move to make sounds. If a child has CAS, the messages do not go through correctly. This affects ,to varying degrees, how the child is able to move their mouths, lips or tongue, even though the musculature in each is not weak.

Even though the name of the disorder has the word “childhood” in it, CAS is not a disorder that children will outgrow without treatment. Therapy can be lengthy, but with it, a child’s speech can improve.


Different names for CAS

CAS has different names which can make it confusing. But all names refer to the same disorder. CAS can be called:

  • Verbal Dyspraxia.

  • Developmental Apraxia.


Causes of CAS

Most of the time the cause of CAS is not known. In some, but not all cases, damage to the brain can cause CAS. Damage could be caused by a traumatic brain injury, a syndrome or genetic disorder. It is important to note that this is only the cause in some cases. In most cases, brain injury is not the cause and the cause is unknown. 


Signs and Symptoms of CAS

Signs and symptoms of CAS vary from child to child with some making some, not all or a combination of the below. You should speak to your GP or see a speech pathologist if your child is older than three and :

  • Does not say sounds or words the same way consistently.

  • Distorts the sounds in words.

  • Puts stress patterns at the incorrect part of a word or syllable.

  • Has difficulty moving smoothly from one sound, syllable or word to another. 

  • Is able to say shorter words more clearly than longer words.

  • Groping movement with the jaw, lips or tongue to make the correct movement for speech sounds. 

  • Vowel distortions (e.g. attempting to say a vowel but saying it incorrectly). 


Treatment for CAS

A child with CAS should commence therapy with a speech pathologist. Depending on the severity of the disorder the frequency of therapy will vary from once to several times a week. Home practice is vital.

For further information on CAS please refer to,as%20the%20child%20makes%20progress.

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