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Rosalie Childrens Center

Level 1

155 Baroona Road

Paddington,   4064

Childhood Apraxia of Speech

What is Apraxia of Speech?

Apraxia of Speech is a motor speech disorder that effects a child’s ability to say sounds, syllables and words clearly. Children with Apraxia of Speech often use many different errors in their speech production and are difficult to understand. Apraxia is not a result of muscle weakness or paralysis, and is not associated with cognitive impairment. Apraxia of Speech is a neurological deficit that causes problems with the brain’s ability to plan muscles movements. A child with Apraxia of Speech will know what they want to say, but will have difficulty co-ordinating the movement of their lips, tongue, and jaw to produce the desired speech sounds.

What are the signs and symptoms of Apraxia?

Some of the common signs and symptoms of Childhood Apraxia of Speech are listed below. It is important to note that the signs and symptoms of Apraxia in children can vary, and not all signs or symptoms may be present in every child. It is therefore important that a child undergoes specific assessment administered by a qualified Speech Pathologist in order to rule out other possible speech difficulties.

Infancy and early childhood:

  • Does not babble or coo as a baby
  • First words are later than other children
  • Only has a few different speech sounds that they can use
  • Speech is significantly more difficult to understand than other children their age
  • Words are overly simplified
  • Difficulties with feeding maybe present

Later childhood:

  • Speech errors are inconsistent and may not follow predictable patterns
  • May understand language better than they can express themselves
  • Imitating speech is difficult, but is clearer than spontaneous speech
  • Longer words and phrases are more difficult to say than shorter ones
  • May use ‘groping’ behaviours – movement of the lips, tongue and jaw into different positions
  • Speech may sound choppy, monotonous or have incorrect stress on syllables and words

Common coexisting difficulties:

  • Poor fine motor movement and coordination
  • Increased or reduced oral sensitivity

What causes Apraxia of Speech?

Apraxia of Speech is a motor speech disorder that results from difficulties with the brain’s ability to send messages to the muscles of the mouth. The cause of Apraxia is not always able to be determined. However, some known causes include genetic disorders, syndromes, brain injury and stroke. Apraxia is not a speech disorder that a child is likely to outgrow. However, with appropriate and intensive treatment, children with Apraxia can make considerable progress.

For more information…

The Apraxia-KIDS website

NIDCD Website

The Nuffield Centre