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Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.

 

Signs in a very young child:
  • does not coo or babble as an infant 
  • first words are late and they may be missing sounds 
  • only a few different consonants/vowel sounds 

 

Signs in an older child:
  • can understand language much better than he can talk 
  • difficulty imitating speech 
  • may appear to be groping when attempting to produce sounds 

 

Other potential problems:
  • delayed language development 
  • difficulty with fine motor movement/coordination 

 

Additional resources and information: