Developmental Apraxia of Speech is a neurologically-based motor planning speech disorder that affects a very small number of children. Children with apraxia have extreme difficulty translating their thoughts into the correct sequence of movements of their mouth, tongue, and lips. A child with apraxia of speech can have speech that is very limited and unclear, making it difficult for others to understand the child, even their own families. Developmental Apraxia of Speech is not something that the child will outgrow on their own. With proper, early speech therapy provided by a trained speech-language pathologist, many children with apraxia of speech are capable of learning to speak clearly and communicate effectively. However, without the necessary and appropriate therapy, children with apraxia may never speak clearly and experience a lifetime of frustration.
Children with apraxia of speech have a long, difficult road ahead of them as they struggle mightily to achieve what other children do with little effort. In their journey to become effective communicators, adults can lighten their load through increased awareness and understanding of this perplexing speech disorder.
Some symptoms that may indicate developmental apraxia of speech include:
- Little or no babbling as an infant
- Difficulty imitating sounds/words
- Very few consonant sounds
- Possibly limited vowel sounds as well
- Showing signs of frustration with inability to communicate
- Late onset of first words
- Uses grunts, gestures and other non-verbal forms of communication
- Leaves out sounds or substitutes incorrect sounds in words
- Often inconsistent or unpredictable speech errors
- Severely unclear speech or speech attempts
- May show groping with their mouth when attempting to speak
- Makes slow or no progress with traditional speech therapy
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