What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)?
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a speech disorder in which children have difficulty producing the precise movements required for speech production. In children with CAS, the brain has difficulty developing the motor plan necessary for speech. Therefore, the child’s speech muscles are not weak, but speech is not accurately produced due to significant difficulty coordinating the articulators.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA, 2007), the most common signs of CAS are:
2. Increased difficulty/errors when producing longer utterances
3. Inappropriate timing, rhythm, and flow speech
How is it diagnosed? An accurate diagnosis of CAS requires a comprehensive speech and language evaluation by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who specializes in the area, or by a neurologist.
How is it treated? Treatment for CAS is typically intensive and not a quick process. Some strategies that may be used to treat a child with CAS include the following:
- Multiple repetitions of sound sequences, words, and phrases
- Visual prompts and cues to model how speech sounds are produced in isolation and in sequences
- Having the child say target words in unison with their SLP or guardian