All You Need to Know About Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

A child lacking confidence because of speech disorder

Childhood apraxia of speech is a speech disorder where a child faces difficulty making accurate facial movements while speaking. While the speech muscles of a person aren’t weak, they don’t perform accurately as the brain fails to coordinate and direct the movements.

Childhood apraxia of speech can be treated with speech therapy, where children practice different ways to say phrases, syllables, and words with a speech pathologist.


Childhood apraxia of speech can be related with:

  • The impeded onset of initial words
  • Limited amount of spoken words
  • The ability to pronounce only a few vowels or consonant sounds

The symptoms mentioned above usually appear for children between 1.5 to 2 years, indicating suspected CAS.

For children between the ages of 2 and 4, the following symptoms are likely to occur:

  • Consonant and vowel distortions
  • The breakup of syllables between or in words
  • Voicing errors, like “bye” sounding like “pie.”

Some markers that can help to distinguish between CAS and other speech disorders include:

  • Difficulty in moving seamlessly from one word, syllable, or sound to another
  • Fumbling movements with lips, tongue, or jaw to make the accurate speech sounds
  • Distortion of vowel, like trying to say the correct vowel, but using it incorrectly
  • Stressing on the wrong word, like pronouncing “papaya” as “puh-PAA-ya” instead of “PUH-paa-ya”
  • Emphasizing all syllables, like saying “PUH-PAA-YA”
  • Splitting syllables, likeadding a gap between them
  • Inconsistency, like making errors when speaking the same word for the second time
  • Facing difficulty in imitating common words


There are various causes for childhood apraxia of speech, but most doctors can’t determine them because they don’t observe the child’s brain. Here are some of the common causes of CAS:

  • CAS can result from a brain injury or condition like an infection, stroke, or traumatic injury.
  • CAS can also be a symptom of a syndrome, genetic disorder, or a metabolic condition. For instance, children with galactosemia are more likely to get CAS.
  • CAS is sometimes called developmental apraxia. But children who have CAS don’t tend to grow out of it as they grow old. In many cases, children with developmental or delayed speech disorders follow typical patterns in the development of sounds and speech, but they develop slowly.

Children who have CAS don’t make the usual sounding errors. However, they require speech therapy to get better.

Risk factors

The FOXP2 gene is involved in the development of pathways and nerves in the brain. Abnormalities in this gene can heighten the right of language and speech disorders like childhood apraxia of speech.

Researchers are still in the process of studying how anomalies in the FOXP2 gene can impact language and speech processing and motor coordination in the brain.


Children who have childhood apraxia of speech have other issues that can impact the way they communicate. These issues aren’t because of CAS, as theycan be visible along with CAS. Problems or symptoms that may appear along with CAS are:

  • Delayed language, like having difficulty in reduced vocabulary, understanding speech, or trouble using correct grammar while putting words in a sentence or phrase
  • Delays in motor and intellectual development along with problems inspelling, reading, and writing
  • Hypersensitivity, in cases where the child may not like certain foods or some textures in fabric, or they may not like brushing teeth.

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