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Childhood Apraxia of Speech

​​​​​What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) causes a child’s brain to have problems planning and making speech movements with their tongue, lips, and/or jaw.

Children with CAS:

  • tend to have problems making movements in their mouth to pronounce longer words clearly (e.g., putting the sounds in the right order)
  • may have more problems when they think too hard about how to say the word
  • tend to say the same word differently each time (e.g., one time they may say “buttercup”, but the next time “buttertup”, then “buttertut”)
  • may understand a lot more words than they can say
  • may have problems with reading
  • may have other coordination problems (e.g., dressing, tying shoes, printing, coloring, playing with some toys)

​​​​​What can you do to help?

  • Talk slower with your child and encourage them to talk slower as well.
  • Say hard words slowly.
  • Encourage your child to repeat a sound or word after you. Repeat it many times so the speech movements become automatic.
  • It’s important for your child to see, hear, and feel how their mouth is moving while saying different sounds. Encourage your child to watch you say a sound or word (e.g., let them feel the air blowing out of your mouth for noisy sounds like “s”, then pop your hand away from your mouth as you say the “p” sound).
  • You and your child can tap out syllables in words, or words in sentences, as they are being said.
  • When possible, focus on saying words (e.g., “back”) instead of separate sounds (e.g., the “k” sound).
  • Practice saying ​words while doing activities that are fun and interesting for your child.

Where to go get help

For more information about how speech-language pathologists and audiologists can help, contact:

  • Your doctor, public health nurse, or other health provider
  • Your local health centre
  • Visit the Talk Box - A parent guide to creating language rich environments

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