What is Apraxia of Speech?

Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a problem with motor planning—when we speak, we have to execute on a plan for how our articulators, our tongue, lips, and teeth, move to correctly produce the words we want to say.  Speakers with apraxia struggle with coordinating these movements, and as a result, produce a variety of errors in speech. This article explains some of the characteristics of childhood Apraxia of speech. 

Features of Apraxia of Speech

Some of the hallmark signs of apraxia include:

  • difficulty with production of vowels
  • inconsistent errors
  • extra movements of the articulators when trying to figure out how to produce a specific movement pattern
  • problems with using intonation correctly
  • atypical types of speech errors, like insertion of sounds in words. 

Speakers sometimes have an easier time with automated sequences, like counting or saying the days of the week, than trying to say a single word when put on the spot.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Apraxia

In young children, these motor planning errors can be tricky to differentiate from articulation, phonological, or language based issues. In fact, many kids with apraxia may have these other areas of speech and language impacted as well, which can create significant problems with their ability to be understood.

In order to separate apraxia characteristics from other types of speech or communication concerns, it’s best to seek out an assessment from a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist. The therapist will ask your child to say different words, syllables, and phrases, and observe your child in communication. They will also ask questions about your child’s communication at home. This allows them to look for patterns or behaviors that may suggest an underlying motor planning issues contributing to the speech difficulty.

The good news is that apraxia is a condition with well-known strategies to help treat in speech therapy! Kids with apraxia do well different therapy programs that control the complexity of tasks in systematic ways, gradually increasing the challenge of the task and providing many opportunities for practicing different movements between sounds. Building automaticity is key, which means that kids with apraxia will benefit from lots and lots of practice. This repetition allows them to internalize motor plans for improved speech, which in turn improves their ability to be understood.

Why Choose Verboso for your Apraxia Treatment?

Because kids with apraxia often need frequent and intensive speech therapy services, many families look for private speech therapy services. Verboso’s teletherapy and video game solutions can help provide options for families of people with apraxia.

Access teletherapy from the convenience of your home

Online speech therapy sessions are an effective way to hold appointments. Plus, because you don’t need to worry about travel time or waiting room time, the overall time commitment on your family is just the time of the session. For busy families, and particularly families that are trying to get frequent services scheduled, this reduction in overall time can really add up to significant time savings. 

Speech therapy games help to boost engagement in between sessions

Verboso creates one of a kind speech therapy video games that are specifically designed to help kids focus on speech sound practice. The more kids practice in between sessions, the better they learn muscle memory for the correct sounds and movements. This enhanced home practice is particularly important for kids who have an apraxia diagnosis. Because of the amount of practice needed to help learn new motor plans, that benefit of technology enhanced home practice comes from motivation and engagement for more regular practice.

Need help finding therapy for a child with apraxia? Reach out today for a free screening!