There are two types that
involve Speech Pathologists:
ORAL - the person has problems
making voluntary movements of mouth muscles.
The person can randomly stick their tongue out at you, but if you ASK
them to do it... they can't.
VERBAL (more common) - the
person has problems with their ability to plan and program voluntary
movements to say sounds and words.
If you ask the person to say banana 4 times, they might say...
Apraxia of speech can be:
affects children from birth.
Acquired which can affect a
person at any age, but most often affects adults.
What Causes It?
Similar to some speech disorders, SLPs are not sure what causes
it. Like adults, children can get acquired apraxia from a stroke,
tumor, or head injury. Apraxia of speech seems to affect more boys than
Caruso & Strand (1999) compiled some common factors they looked for
when evaluating a child who was thought to have developmental apraxia.
They suggested that apraxia of speech may be present if:
a certain genetic syndrome existed (ex. Down, fragile X)
a child had a history of neurological disease or damage
it was suspected in a family member
a child showed excessive motor activity and withdrawl
a child had gross/fine motor incoordination
abnormal feeding patterns were observed
abnormalities were observed during imitative play with sounds or
there was a family history of a communication and/or writing
disorder or learning disabilities
They also noted that young children with this disorder might have:
little vocal play or babbling
shown little imitation in infancy
delays in early language
behavioral disorders, temper tantrums, and inflexibility in
difficulty making normal progress in speech therapy
to say a word many times before they say it right
more errors as word length increases
receptive language that exceeds expressive language
What Does It Affect?
A child can be mild enough
that they may only have one or two speech errors or occasionally
struggle with some multi-syllable words...
...severe enough where a child
cannot communicate at all (only says vowel sounds) and
needs/uses another way to communicate such as sign language or a
If a child has a motor deficit it will more than likely influence the
development of phonology and other language abilities (Caruso &
Strand, 1999). Apraxia of speech may or may not affect:
If you have seen some modern day cartoons, they
repeat things A LOT! That is because we learn by repetition.
I don't mean to promote specific TV shows but Dora
The Explorer is excellent at doing this. They have
one song about Dora's Map.
The song has two very short verses and then the singer says "I'm the
map" 12 times straight! and the song is over.
Above all, and this is always easier said than done...exercise as
much patience as possible. This disorder is very frustrating for
the individual and can be for the whole family.
If you suspect that your child has apraxia of speech, see a
Speech-Language Pathologist right away. They will be able to discuss
including the possibility of using sign language and/or a communication
We are both MS CCC-SLPs and fell in love while studying for our degrees. Since then we have done everything together - graduated, worked, and started a family. We spend most of our time with our family and the rest making this site for you.