Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), sometimes called developmental apraxia, is a motor speech disorder where there is difficulty with the correct production of sounds, syllables and words. Typically, there is nothing wrong with the muscles of the face, tongue, lips, and jaw. The brain has difficulty planning the movement of body parts needed for speech.

How can AAC benefit a child with CAS?

The primary goal for using an AAC device with a child with CAS is to enhance communication, not to replace or inhibit the existing communication skills of the child. Because children with CAS may also experience delays in receptive and expressive language development, an AAC device, with a robust and structured framework, can give them access to the tools needed to support their language and literacy learning. AAC is used to support speech or to help the child gain higher levels of language ability. Traditional speech therapy may be used in conjunction with augmentative communication strategies for some children with CAS.

Most AAC users continue to use their existing communication skills (e.g. verbalizations, facial expressions, gestures, etc.) in addition to an AAC device. AAC intervention strives to determine the communication needs of the child, identify the child’s strengths and match those strengths to possible AAC solutions. While there are many choices available regarding AAC systems, it is important to consider all of the things that make an AAC system appropriate for a child with CAS.

An AAC system should:

  • Increase participation in the classroom, community and home.
  • Support language and literacy learning through a robust and structured language system.
  • Encourage successful day-to-day interaction with others.
  • Be appropriate for the child’s age and communication ability level.
  • Support academic performance and address IEP and personal goals.

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