Every parent eagerly awaits their child’s first words. But what happens when those long-awaited words finally appear, but are so garbled that they are nearly incomprehensible? This situation is a common reality for parents of children with childhood apraxia of speech, a motor planning disorder.
As we discussed last week, childhood apraxia of speech (or CAS) is a disorder which causes a disruption in the neurological signals from the brain to the muscles needed to carry out speech movements. This can result in a variety of issues, ranging from mild but noticeable sound errors to speech that is so discoordinated, words are hardly recognizable.
Unlike typical childhood speech errors, children do not simply “grow out of” childhood apraxia of speech. However, the clarity of a child’s speech can be improved with therapeutic intervention. For this reason, children with childhood apraxia of speech often benefit from the services of a speech-language pathologist. A speech therapist will work with the child to develop strategies to improve the planning, sequencing, and coordination of muscle movements for speech. Often, the speech-language pathologist will use a multisensory approach, using visual, auditory, and tactile (or “touch”) feedback to help the child increase coordination. In extreme cases, the speech-language therapist may work with the child and the family to consider alternative communication options, such as sign language or an alternative and augmentative communication device (such as a computer that produces speech).
For children with CAS, early intervention is key. Left untreated, communication deficits can lead to academic issues or difficulty with confidence and self-esteem. Speech-language therapy can help a child develop clearer speech and stronger communication skills. Contact a certified speech-language pathologist today for a full assessment and put your child on the road to better communication.
For information on our New York based Speech-Language Pathology services, please call Speech Associates of New York today at (212)308-7725 or visit our website at www.speechassociatesofny.com and find out how our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists can help!