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Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder in which a child has difficulty making accurate
and coordinated movements when speaking.

For speech production, your child's brain has to learn how to make plans that tell his/ her speech muscles how to move the lips, jaw and tongue in ways that result in accurate sounds, syllables, words, phrases, and sentences. Your child's brain also plans these movements so that he/she speaks with a normal rate and rhythm.


In Childhood Apraxia of Speech, the brain struggles to develop plans for coordinated speech movements. Consequently, children with CAS do not learn the precise movements for speech production. In CAS, the speech muscles are not weak; rather they do not perform normally because the brain has difficulty planning and sequencing the necessary speech movements.

Signs of Childhood Apraxia of Speech


Three Most Common Characteristics


  • Inconsistent speech sound errors

  • Difficulty moving from one speech sound to another or from one syllable to another

  • Abnormal rhythm, rate, stress and intonation during speech


Other Characteristics That May Be Seen


  • First words are late and may be missing sounds

  • Inconsistent sound errors

  • Difficulty producing many speech sounds

  • Use of only vowel sounds, grunts, or single syllable to communicate

  • Use of only a few speech sounds during speech

  • More errors on longer words or phrases than with single sounds or syllables

  • Struggles when trying to find the correct mouth position to produce a sound

  • Difficulty starting a sound

  • Normal receptive language (understanding) skills but limited expressive language skills

  • Difficulty imitating mouth movements

  • Difficult to be understood, especially to the unfamiliar listener

  • Behavioral issues related to the frustration in not being understood by family members, teachers and peers


Early evaluation and intervention are critical for children with CAS. While there is no certainty that literacy problems will or will not develop with CAS, there is research to support that children with spoken language problems are at higher risk for literacy related problems.


If you have concerns about your child’s motor speech development or apraxia of speech, please contact us online, send us an email or call us at 888-28-LAPSA (52772) to set up a consultation in our office.


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