When children begin to learn to speak, they learn how to properly sound out words through speech attempts and feedback from others. Through these trial and error attempts, children learn how to talk and carry on conversations. Not only do they rely on visual stimulation during this developmental stage, but they also depend on the electrical signals being sent in their brains that then send messages to their tongues, mouth, and jaw. Sometimes these messages in the brain don’t communicate correctly, leaving some children unable to speak. It’s not that these children don’t know what they want to say; they just don’t know how to do so physically, a disorder called childhood apraxia of speech.
Childhood apraxia affects as many as 10 out of 1,000 children every year. The neurological disorder affects the neural pathways needed to plan and execute the series of speech movements. While the exact causes of CAS are unknown, speech and neurofeedback therapy are two of the most effective ways of helping these children learn to speak. Here at Grey Matters of Carmel, CAS is a condition that we know a lot about and want to help educate other parents and be an additional resource for all of their questions.
Know the Signs
Knowing what to look for is half the battle. Since most children don’t begin to learn to speak until around the age of 2, parents have no idea that anything is wrong with their child’s brain until the signs become apparent. While not all children will exhibit the same signs or symptoms of CAS, some of the most common things to look out for include:
- Limited vocalization
- Distorting sounds
- Inconsistent errors
- Sound groping
- Errors in tone, stress & rhythm
- Difficulty with fine motor skills
- Problems reading, spelling & writing
If your child is of language-development age and still struggling with vocalizing or speaking, then it is time to see a speech therapist and get your child into neurofeedback therapy.
Testing for Childhood Apraxia
If you fear your child has apraxia, an SLP can help determine if this is true. He or she will test your child by looking at their oral-motor skills, speech melody, and how they say different sounds. An SLP will check how well your child says speech sounds and combined syllables and how well others can understand your child. As a parent, you might understand what your child is trying to say or communicate, but that doesn’t mean your child isn’t struggling with CAS. Your child’s pediatrician will also likely want to run some tests to determine if there is any damage in the brain.
Treatment for Apraxia
Neurofeedback has been a proven and effective treatment for childhood apraxia of speech. Here at Grey Matters of Carmel, we have first-hand knowledge that this kind of therapy works and can help your child as well. While the goal of your child’s speech therapist is to get him or her to say wounds, words, and sentences, our goal here at the clinic is to rewire the damaged connections and neural pathways in your child’s brain that are affecting speech delays. To learn more about our treatment of CAS, contact us today!