Apraxia of speech—also known as childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)—is a disorder in which a child has difficulty performing the actual physical movements to produce coherent speech. In general, children with CAS have a good understanding of language and know what they want to say, but are often unable to say it. Apraxia is a neurological condition, and though a child might have the cognitive language capacity to talk, mixed signals between the brain and muscles make it difficult for the child to coordinate correct speech sound movements.


You might be thinking, “Yeah, but what does CAS sound like?” Well, depending on the child, CAS can result in the distortion of certain speech sounds. Some kids might have less trouble with smaller words, while others stumble into difficulty with the rhythm of speech. Another CAS symptom results in the child’s inability to produce the same words and sounds consistently. As time passes, children with CAS might also have delays in language development, difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing, or difficulty with fine motor skills.


CAS is thought to be an uncommon speech disorder, but it is also a complex one and difficult to diagnose. Children with CAS will not outgrow the disorder. It often requires intensive speech-language therapy sessions, including ongoing, dynamic one-on-one meetings with a speech therapist.


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