Friday, October 16, 2009

Apraxia of Speech

My precious little seven year old has Apraxia. He didn't start vocalizing until at least two years old. He didn't start speaking words until about four years old.Even now, most of what he says, I cannot understand. He has been in speech therapy for a few years now, and I am sure has many more years ahead of him.

What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?

Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a motor speech disorder. For reasons not yet fully understood, children with apraxia of speech have great difficulty planning and producing the precise, highly refined and specific series of movements of the tongue, lips, jaw and palate that are necessary for intelligible speech. Apraxia of speech is sometimes called verbal apraxia, developmental apraxia of speech, or verbal dyspraxia. No matter what name is used, the most important concept is the root word "praxis." Praxis means planned movement. To some degree or another, a child with the diagnosis of apraxia of speech has difficulty programming and planning speech movements. Apraxia of speech is a specific speech disorder. (Taken from the Family Start Guide at Apraxia-Kids.Org )

What Helps Children With Apraxia of Speech?

Primarily, children with CAS require frequent and intensive individual speech therapy from an experienced SLP. How much and how often that a child receives speech therapy will depend on each individual child, but the more severely the child is affected, the greater the need for frequent and intensive speech therapy. As children improve (which most will with appropriate therapy), less frequent individual speech therapy is needed

Speech therapy for children with CAS is focused on providing the child with a great number of opportunities to practice planning, programming and then producing accurate movements for speech. Additionally, children with CAS will likely need to work on other language and communication skills during speech therapy. Some children will learn some sign language or use a communication device while they continue to work on their speech skills.

Parents or caregivers need to be highly involved in their child’s speech therapy goals. They serve as important extenders of speech goals, enabling the child to gain more practice opportunities than they could otherwise. Parents also can help model appropriate interactions for others and how to best support the child’s communication attempts.

Children with CAS also need the patience and support of other important people in their lives. Caring extended family, friends and teachers can demonstrate support by learning the best ways to support the child’s speech attempts; not pressuring the child to speak, providing time and loving patience when the child wants to speak, and affirming the child’s efforts and intrinsic worth, value and ability.

Even very young children with CAS are often keenly aware of how difficult speech is for them. With appropriate professional help and support from family and friends, they hopefully can and will persist in their efforts and ultimately experience success. (Taken from the What You Should Know About Childhood Apraxia of Speech brochure, which can be downloaded here.)

Day after tomorrow, Steven and I are participating in a walk, to raise funds for and awareness of Apraxia of Speech. Won't you please join us with your thoughts, prayers, and support? You can learn more about Apraxia, and our walk, by going here.

The weather is supposed to be sunny, but rather chilly. I think it will be a more comfortable temperature for walking....and I am sure we will not be wearing shorts!!

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