So, what is Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)?
CAS is a motor speech disorder, which means your child has trouble saying sounds, syllables, and words. This trouble is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis, but rather the brain having trouble planning how to move the body parts for speech (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue). Your child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.
Red Flags For CAS
The signs of CAS vary from child to child, but here are some red flags that are often seen:
It can be scary when you suspect or learn your child is not developing in the way you expected. And the lingo used when a diagnosis is given can be confusing and scary as well. However, as a parent it is important to understand a diagnosis in order to do what is best for your child.
If you suspect your child may have CAS or have been told your child has CAS, a complete evaluation of their oral musculature (i.e., lips, tongue, cheeks, jaw), speech sound repertoire, and their language skills should be completed to determine the most effective course of treatment for your child. It’s also important to take into consideration that there are often co-existing conditions (e.g., hypotonia, autism, sensory integration disorder, etc) that can be associated with CAS. Co-existing conditions would impact how your child's treatment plan should be designed.
Research shows that children with CAS have more success when they receive frequent (3-5 times a week) treatment. A high-frequency and intensive treatment plan would help your child improve their motor planning abilities, as well as their coordination and sequencing of movements for speech sound production. Every child is unique and every child with CAS is unique as well! The duration of therapy your child may need depends on their severity, the commitment of parents and caregivers for completing homework, and your child's personality. Your speech therapist should provide you with weekly homework to help guide you in the carryover of skills at home.
Our team is recommended providers on The Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA): Megan C. Littlepage & Monica T. Phillips. Additionally, we are trained in PROMPT, Sarah Rosenfeld-Johnson's Oral Placement Therapy, and the Kaufman Speech Praxis kits. We have extensive experience working with children with CAS and their families. At The Speech Space we really take a “team approach” for our kids--this includes our team, your child, you, and other caregivers and educators!,
The Speech Space offers free 30 minute consultations to help identify potential problems with speech, language and communication development, as well as, for feeding issues. If you have concerns or further questions about your child’s development, please feel free to contact us at The Speech Space!
Important Resources for CAS: