Defining Childhood Apraxia of Speech | A Gift of Speech

What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)?

Childhood Apraxia of Speech or CAS is a motor speech planning disorder.

It is a neurological disorder characterized by the impairment of the movements that form speech. The precise movement patterns that are typically sent to the the artiulators (the lungs, jaw, larynx, tongue, and lips) that create speech are not intact. There is typically normal tone and reflexes.

CAS differs from adult’s with apraxia, which is acquired. With acquired apraxia some type of brain change has occurred that impacts the motor plans. The individual with acquired apraxia typically had the motor planning to create speech, but it was lost due to changes in the brain. Whereas in children the motor plan has not developed typically.

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) position statement on CAS is as follows:

¨It is the position of ASHA that apraxia of speech exists as a distinct diagnostic type of childhood (pediatric) speech sound disorder that warrants research and clinical services. A literature review indicates that apraxia of speech occurs in children in three clinical contexts:

  1. Neurological etiologies: intrauterine stroke, infections, trauma
  2. Complex neurobehavioral disorders: genetic, metabolic
  3. Idiopathic neurogenic speech sound disorder: not associated with any known neurological or complex neurobehavioral disorder. Where there is not known trauma or genetic condition to explain the motor speech issues.