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What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?


Example of Kaufman card working up to pronouncing apple

Childhood apraxia of speech, also known as CAS, can be defined as a neurological disorder that affects the planning process of speech sounds. As such, it is also often categorized as a motor speech sound disorder. For example, while an individual may know what they want to say, their motor processes provide challenges which may prohibit them from production.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), presents clinical data that found that CAS may occur in one to two children per thousand, marking it as a rare condition. Even so, it is crucial to understand what CAS is and what it may look like so that diagnoses and therapy can be followed through appropriately. It is also important to note that CAS is often accompanied by other language and/or speech sound disorders.



What Could CAS Look Like?

While CAS can differ child to child, depending on its severity, the following are some outcomes that can arise from this disorder:

  • Incorrect placement of articulators

  • Difficulty with syllable sequences

  • Unintelligible speech

  • Inconsistency

  • Robotic speech

  • Frequent pauses


What Might Therapy Look Like for a Patient with CAS?

Therapy for a child with CAS is variable, depending on the specifics of that child’s profile as well as the severity of their CAS diagnosis. Some therapy tools that may be incorporated in sessions include:

  • Books and narratives

  • Songs (specifically ones with repetitive sequences)

  • Kaufman cards

  • Cards with motor visuals

  • Modeling and imitating

When it comes to treating CAS, regular and consistent speech therapy can benefit a child in their growth and development. Whether working one-on-one or in a group setting, providing a space where the child is understood and validated is key. With intensive and purposeful treatment, it is hoped that individuals with CAS will become more comfortable with their motor movements and become stronger in their speech production.


Written by: Samantha Senghera

Speech-Language Pathology Assistant




Sources:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2007). Childhood apraxia of speech.


Mayo Clinic. (2015, October 20). Examples of different levels of severity in childhood apraxia of speech CAS). YouTube. Retrieved from http://y2u.be/cEOy3APLA-g


Murray, E., Iuzzini-Seigel, J., Maas, E., Terband, H., & Ballard, K. J. (2021). Differential diagnosis of childhood apraxia of speech compared to other speech sound disorders: A systematic review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 30(1), 279-300. h https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_AJSLP-20-00063

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