Apraxia of Speech Affects 1 in 1,000 Children: Signs and Symptoms
Apraxia of speech is a speech disorder that causes people to have trouble saying what they want to correctly and consistently. It is not a result of paralysis or weakness in any of the speech muscles, and can range in severity. As of right now, there is no cure for this condition, but it can be treated with speech therapy.
Signs and Symptoms of Apraxia of Speech
If your baby does not coo, where your child is always quiet with a limited repertoire of words, or does not move his or her mouth the same way other kids his or her age do he or she may have apraxia of speech. Sometime, children learn how to speak but quickly forget the words. Children usually understand much more than they can express. It may or may not present with other issues, including poor vocabulary and incorrect grammar, issues with coordination, or difficulties chewing and swallowing. The severity of the condition varies from person to person, so speech therapy plans are unique for each patient.
What causes Apraxia of Speech?
Apraxia of speech is classified as either acquired or developmental. Acquired and apraxia of speech can affect anyone is any age, though he usually happens with adults. It is a result of damage to the parts of the brain that are involved with speaking and impairs or causes the loss of existing speech ability. It may come as a side effect of a head injury, stroke, tumor, or other illness that affects the brain. Acquired apraxia of speech may or may not present with muscle weakness that affects the ability to speak or difficulties with language.
Developmental apraxia of speech (DAS) happens in children and is present from birth. It affects boys more often than it does girls. It is not the same as the developmental delay of speech where a child follows the typical speech development path but does so slower than normal. We do not yet know the cause or causes of DAS Some experts believe that it is a disorder related to the child’s overall language development, but others believe it is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to send the proper signals to move muffled associated with speech. Brain imaging studies haven’t found any evidence of differences in brain structure when comparing children with DAS to those who do not have it. Children affected by DAS often have the family members who have learning disabilities or communication disorders suggesting that genetics may be part of the picture.
Telespeech therapy can help children and adults suffering from a proxy of speech and is useful in areas where face-to-face speech therapy is not available or impractical. Through regular treatments with a speech therapist and practice of exercises at home, children can learn how to speak properly on a consistent basis.