Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is speech production disorder that causes the child’s speech to be hard to understand. It is not typically diagnosed until 3 years of age. However, it is often suspected at a younger age when speech development is noted to be delayed.
Children with CAS may have a hard time putting the tongue, lips and jaw in the right position to make many speech sounds. He or she will have trouble putting speech sounds together (i.e., /b - a - t / for “bat”). Longer sentences or words are more difficult for the child to say, which causes more errors. This makes the child’s speech harder to understand. The child may be able to make a sound or word correctly one time, but not be able to say it another time.
Usually, the child with CAS does not have difficulty with non-speech movements such as chewing, licking or swallowing. Children with CAS may have problems with other motor skills such as cutting, coloring and writing. The difficulty with speech and later language development may even result in problems with reading and spelling as the child gets older.