What Is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?

So, what IS Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)?  
The American Speech-language-hearing association defines it as, “…a neurological childhood speech sound disorder in which the precision and consistency of movements underlying speech are impaired in the absence of neuromuscular deficits (e.g. abnormal reflexes, abnormal tone)” (ASHA, 2007).  A way I like to tell parents about CAS: there is nothing wrong with their brain and there is (typically) nothing wrong with their speech articulators/muscles, but there is communication breakdown between the brain and these speech helpers.  The breakdown makes it difficult for the child to coordinate and sequence speech.

Early Signs of CAS
Limited babbling as an infant
-No intelligible first word by 18 months
-Inconsistent sound errors
-May be able to imitate sounds on one trial, but unable to reduplicate
-Children appear to understand more than they can say
-Vowels may appear distorted
-More vowels present than consonants
-Children may develop a go-to word that is used for many things
-Oral groping when attempting to imitate or produce connected speech sounds

I think my child has CAS
If you think your child demonstrates characteristics of CAS, the best place to start is with a speech-language evaluation.  A speech pathologist can rule out other possible causes for these signs/symptoms, such as a severe phonological processing disorder or an expressive language impairment.  


If your child has CAS, the American Speech Language Hearing Association recommends frequent, individual speech therapy sessions for children with childhood apraxia of speech.   A multi-sensory approach to treatment with frequent home practice and early focus on functional communication is most effective.  There are a variety of treatment tools and programs available, but no one “program” or treatment approach is right for each child.  At The Therapy SPOT, we are experienced and trained in using a variety of materials and approaches to treat childhood apraxia of speech making certain we individualize treatment to what works best for each child.


Smith, L. (2015, August 5). When We Asked Ronda Rousey If She Had Apraxia of Speech. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://themighty.com/2015/08/when-we-asked-ronda-rousey-if-she-had1-apraxia-of-speech/#ixzz3sLlmn5pi

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2007). Childhood apraxia of speech [Position Statement]. Available from http://www.asha.org/policy.

About the author:  Danielle Carey, M.S., CCC-SLP, became a licensed speech-language pathologist in 2012, treating patients mainly in hospitals and subacute rehab centers with clinical time spent in the public school and at a private practice treating patients ages 2-80+.  She graduated magna cum laude from East Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders with a minor in child development and family relations.  Danielle received her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Old Dominion University.  She is a member of American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  Danielle received VitalStim certification (neuromuscular electrical stimulation) in 2014 to use for adults with dysphagia (swallowing impairment).  Danielle  enjoys working at The Therapy SPOT with both young children and adults.  She is passionate about speech-language pathology and enjoys completing continuing education courses and sharing knowledge with colleagues.  Danielle and her husband Jared have one spunky daughter, and they love to travel.  In her free time, Danielle enjoys reading, riding horses, cooking, and spending time at the beach.

The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy

Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy.  Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs.  You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com.  Questions or concerns?  Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.

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