What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)?

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have difficulty saying and sequencing sounds, syllables, and words. Apraxia is not due to muscle weakness or paralysis, however, it may sometimes present alongside muscle weakness. The motoric involvement observed is thought to stem from the brain, resulting in difficulty planning movement of body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. Children diagnosed with CAS often know what they want to say, but the brain has difficulty coordinating the movement necessary to say or sequence speech.

Signs or Symptoms of CAS (please note: not all children with CAS present identically; if you have concerns, please contact an ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist to obtain a comprehensive evaluation):

  • infants who do not coo or babble
  • the emergence of first words are late
  • only few different consonant and vowel sounds are produced
  • Sounds in words are missing and/or substituted with a simpler sound (e.g., /^/ “uh”)
  • difficulty combining sounds
  • difficulty producing multi-syllabic words
  • inconsistent productions of the same word
  • groping (a trial and error behavior demonstrated while trying to deliver speech)

Carolyn Bowen has created a great reference for geeky SLPs like me and concerned families:

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