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Developmental Apraxia of Speech/Motor Speech Disorders

An apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder characterized by a difficulty in coordinating movements to produce sounds in isolation, as well as sequencing those sounds into words, phrases or sentences. [Can we turn those words into plain English?] Treatment focuses on establishing accurate motor patterns. Through repetition, the child learns to use those patterns at the word level and then move into phrases, sentences and conversational speech.
Not all children present with the same characteristics. General things to look for include:

  • Does not coo or babble as an infant
  • Limited sound repertoire
  • Inconsistent errors
  • Struggling to find the right sound or to coordinate the lips, tongue, and jaw for purposeful movement
  • Limited growth in vocabulary
  • First words are late and maybe missing sounds
  • Difficulty imitating speech
  • Can understand language better than speak it
  • May have problems eating
  • Is hard to understand, especially for an unfamiliar listener