Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a speech disorder that seriously interferes with a child’s ability to develop clear speech. CAS makes it difficult or impossible for an affected child to plan the movements of the lips, tongue, jaw, etc. that are needed for speech. Children with CAS generally have a good understanding of language – they know what they want to say – but have difficulty learning or carrying out the complex movements that underlie speech. Apraxia is one of the most severe of childhood speech and communication disorders.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 marks the second annual Apraxia Awareness Day. I want to bring awareness to our community about this speech problem in children because, although there is little that is known about the disorder, and it is still very misunderstood, it has a huge impact on children and their families. Speech and communication are critical skills for young children to develop. We need to find ways of supporting children with apraxia and their families because speech therapy, the only proven treatment for apraxia, is quite costly and will extend over many years for these children. These children must work and struggle so very hard just to learn a skill – speaking – that comes effortlessly to other children.
My son, Matthew, was suspected of having CAS at about 18 months of age, and the diagnosis was confirmed at age 2. Apraxia is something that affects our lives on a daily basis. Some days I don’t know if I should be happy or sad – happy that Matthew has made progress and has a handful of words to express himself now, or sad at the long journey that still lies ahead. Matthew is amazing though! He has worked so much harder than I would ever expect that a 2-year old could.
Learn more about apraxia at Apraxia-kids.org. Please help us raise awareness for these amazing children!
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