What is Verbal Dyspraxia?
Verbal Dyspraxia is also referred to as Apraxia or Child Apraxia of Speech (CAS). It is a motor speech disorder. The brain has difficulty communicating to the parts of the body that are used to produce speech, such as the lips, jaw and tongue. Apraxia impacts on the speaker’s ability to coordinate and sequence their speech muscles.
What does Verbal Dyspraxia look like?
The signs and symptoms of Apraxia can vary, however common features include: unusual rhythm and inflections, producing syllables and words inconsistently (differently each time), and difficulty transitioning from one syllable to another.
What causes Verbal Dyspraxia?
The causes of Apraxia are neurological in nature. However, in most cases, the definite cause of Apraxia is unknown.
How does Speakable treat Verbal Dyspraxia?The Nuffield Programme
Speakable employs the Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme for children aged 3-7 years. This program requires frequent and focused practice sessions (such as 3-4 times per week), at Speakable and at home, to increase the chances of success in therapy. Within the program, the Speech Pathologist builds on the child’s strengths, such as the sounds and words they can already produce. For example, therapy may begin targeting syllables the child can produce, and in due course, build up to word combinations and sentences.PROMPT Therapy PROMPT stands for Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets. This therapy approach is carried out only by trained professionals. It is described as a tactile approach, in which the clinician uses their hands to provide touch cues to a patient's articulators (jaw, tongue, lips) to support them to produce a sound, word, or sentence. PROMPT follows a hierarchy of stages: 1. New phoneme or syllable 2. Previously learnt phoneme or syllable 3. Using phonemes and syllables to make words 4. Programmed words or phrases
How long does treatment take?
As every child is unique and may respond differently to therapy, there is no exact time frame for treatment for Apraxia.
What can I do?
By contacting Speakable you have already taken the first steps to help your child make progress with Apraxia. If your child is currently non-verbal due to Apraxia, do not shy away from using gestures, sign language, and visual cues. This will not hinder their speech development, and can help reduce frustration when they are trying to communicate a message. Practice, practice, practice! Speak to your therapist to be advised on how you can incorporate therapy into every day activities.
Where can I get more information?
For more information on the program visit The Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme website
For support for caregivers of children with Apraxia visit SLP Mommy of Apraxia