What is childhood apraxia of speech?
Childhood apraxia of speech, or CAS, is a motor speech disorder that occurs in children. CAS is a neurological based disorder that is present at birth and has to do with problems in the nervous system. Children with CAS know exactly what they are trying to say, but the problem is with the brain getting the mouth muscles to move in the right way.
Example: Imagine there is a bottle of water right in front of you, you want to take the bottle of water and drink some, but instead your brain sends a signal to your hands to open the cupboard. You know you wanted the bottle of water, but the signal your brain sent to your hands was to opened the cupboard. You can imagine how frustrating that is, and how frustrating it is for children as well.
Children with CAS have trouble with the precision and consistency of speech movements even though their muscles in their mouths are working just fine. However, young children with CAS are also lacking in the knowledge of how to move their mouths to create the different sounds because they have never been able to do it consistently before. If your child has CAS, he will not follow typical patterns and will not make progress without treatment. It will take a lot of work, but your child’s speech can improve. It’s very important for these kiddos to get excellent feedback on how to move their mouths to say the sounds and whether or not they are saying it correctly. This feedback helps the brain figure out which paths to strengthen (for the wiring) and where to put the articulators (lips, tongue, etc.).