Apraxia is a neurological disorder that appears in many different ways. Some individuals have orofacial apraxia, which affects their ability to move their facial muscles in certain ways. Others have apraxia of speech, which leads to them being unable move the mouth and form words. When discussing apraxia in children, most information refers to Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS).
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, this type of apraxia appears more in boys than in girls and is typically present in a child from birth. Many children with CAS often have family members with a history of communication disorders or other learning disabilities. However, the symptoms that individuals with CAS experience vary by individual. Some of the symptoms of CAS include:
- Trouble putting sounds and syllables together
- Hard time putting mouth parts in the correct position
- Shows more difficulty with longer sentences
- Difficulty consistently saying words or sounds
- Incorrect use of rhythm and inflections while speaking
- Appearance of other speech problems
- Problems with grammar
- Issues with motor skills
- Communicates using vowel sounds and grunts
- No difficulty with non-speech mouth movements
For children with mild cases of CAS, speech therapy is usually the most effective treatment. During speech therapy, children practice speech movements and complete activities designed to help them produce sequences of speech sounds. Those with severe cases of apraxia may participate in speech therapy, but will also benefit from learning other ways to communicate, such as sign language or speech-generating devices.