What Are the Causes of Childhood Apraxia of Speech
What may cause Childhood Apraxia of Speech is still relatively unknown. Some researchers think it is related to the overall development of a child's speech patterns. Others firmly believe the problem lies with the child’s brain, and its ability to send signals to the muscles needed for speech. Studies with imaging tests have not revealed any noticeable differences in the brain structure of children with CAS. Some think that CAS is caused by genetics because many children that have been diagnosed also have a family member with a communication disorder. Also, a child may have a predisposition to CAS if other members of its family have learning disabilities. Childhood Apraxia of Speech is sometimes present in children with other underlying medical concerns such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, or neuromuscular disorders; however, CAS is also found in children with no other diagnosis.
Symptoms of Childhood Apraxia of Speech
There are a few distinguishing characteristics of Childhood Apraxia of Speech. For instance, a child may have difficulty with correct placement of their jaw or tongue, which causes the words, especially the vowel sounds, to sound distorted. The distortions can impact how clear the words sound.
Also, a child with CAS frequently makes inconsistent speech errors. One day a child may struggle to say a word correctly, another day the child may stay the word incorrectly in a different way, but the next day the child may say the word correctly. Longer and complex words are more difficult to pronounce that short simple words. Productions may also be more consistent when the child is saying the word automatically, as in counting or singing a familiar song. But when the child is asked to say a word on demand the attempts may be more inconsistent. A child with CAS may struggle and grope for the right sound in the word they are trying to say. Sometimes, they may have to try a couple of times to get it right.
A child may exhibit differences in the rhythm and inflection of their voice when trying to talk. They might omit syllables in certain words or phrases, or pause at an awkward time while speaking. It should be noted that children with CAS understand language way better than they can speak it.