Another speech/language question

by Jessi
(Tyler, TX)

Hello again. My name is Jessi and I've posted several times before. My first Help Line question ever had to do with my son, AJ's receptive/expressive language disorder. At the time, I asked about whether he may have an auditory processing problem and how/if the two were related. You (Michele) asked your sister, I believe, and she answered the question for me. I have another one now. I've looked up some of his specific symptoms and came across a diagnosis called Childhood Apraxia of Speech. I was curious about what age they can test for this. Before - your sister said that an auditory processing disorder cannot be accurately diagnosed before the age of 8.

AJ is in speech therapy now - and due to me always rushing in and out on my lunch break, I've not been able to address this issue with his speech therapist. By the way, he will be 4 at the end of April.

Here are the symptoms I see:

He has MUCH more difficulty with long sentences than 2-3 word sentences. He has more trouble with spontaneous language (telling me what he's thinking or trying to tell me about the show he's watching, etc.) than language that he's learned sort of by rote (like "I'm thirsty, hungry - I need to go potty", etc.. He has more trouble answering questions when he's under pressure. He seems to confuse things like colors a lot - although I've recently seen some improvement in this (could that be something that's become automatic though - like telling me what he wants to eat???).

He has some other traits that I'm not sure "fit" into anything - he adds s's to the end of words that don't have an s at the end. Then he has some problems that I think are probably somewhat age appropriate - like mispronouncing the beginning consonants of words.

If you, or anyone, can get any information about this for me - and what steps I should take, I would REALLY appreciate it!


Jessi, again I turned to my sister for some help as I am less familiar with speech disorders. I agree with what she said. Here is her response to your questions...

"First, since the child is in speech I would strongly recommend his mom discuss her concerns with the therapist. The SLP knows his symptoms first hand and could give a more relevant response for her child specifically. Mom says she's always rushing in/out... maybe she could write down her questions to give to the SLP then they could connect at a later time by phone?

For general information, Apraxia of speech is a deficit in the motor planning of speech. In other words, the brain knows what it wants to say, the muscles are capable of making the speech sounds however, somewhere between the intent and the production the message does not get through effectively. Without actually listening to her child I could not tell you whether I think this is an issue for him or not. As far as what she should do, again, I suggest talking to the current SLP. There are assessment tools that can be used. Treatment generally involves a lot of drill work and practice."

Hope that helps :)

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Jan 28, 2009
Speech for one
by: Anonymous

Hello, I am the mother of a wonderful 11 year old boy. And right now I am crying as I type this. He's been in speech and occupational therapy since he was 3 1/2 years old and he still receives these services from school. He was diagnosed with apraxia (please forgive the spelling).

From our first in depth visit to the children's hospital here I was told I would out live my child. With further testing and kinder doctors I was then told that with his Broken Chromosomal Disorder that he had several things wrong with him but death wasn't necessarily one of them.

When my son was younger he terrified me because he had no sense of danger and would climb as high as he could and then jump. He fought consistently because he couldn't express himself and shyed away from me because he had a sensory disorder (Hypersensitivity) and still couldn't express himself. He does well in school now because I stopped work to keep an eye on him there but he still has problems.

The one thing I can tell you about the apraxia like it was mentioned before consult your Speech therapist. My son's other issues prevented it from helping him completely and that $500 a month out of my pocket had started to hurt me after 4 years of paying it.

But the one thing that helped the most was being at the sessions learning what the therapist taught and practicing at home. Several articles I have read along with a few professionals have told me that practice is the correctional tool for this speech disorder. When a sentence is said out of order say it correctly and have the child repeat it (try not to make it too noticeable) do like I do make your child think you are a nut and that you just want to hear the sentence again.

My son loves thinking I'm a fruitcake. Just practice work with the therapist gain an aggressive strategy that you can all work on together.

Apr 06, 2008
Speech problems
by: Anonymous

My son was diagnosed in December with an speech problem. His expressive and receptive speech were poor. He also was diagnosed with a regulatory disorder which is a part of SPD. He has been getting therapy since last April and I can say that he has changed amazingly. We do have a lot of problems with pronunciation and him adding s at the end of words or saying izza for Pizza. It is a hard for us to understand him sometimes but when I do he feels good about it.

His therapist is working now with word cards and repeating with working on the problem areas. Like PIZZA. She says p p p p izza and he will repeat it. I also do alot of work with him at home with word books. I have him tell me what the things are and then I correct him and have him repeat the correct way of saying it. I suggest to do what I do; my speech therapist told me to keep a note pad with words that he adds letters to and does not pronounce well so that you know which words to work on.

Apr 04, 2008
Talk to your SLP
by: Char

I agree that this should be addressed with your SLP. Our son (age 2) has been seeing a SLP for 7 months. She was the person to diagnose him with Childhood Apraxia of Speech about 3 months ago. So, at almost 4 your son would not be too young to be tested. Good luck!

Mar 16, 2008
Me too
by: Anonymous

My 3 year old has very low muscle tone and gross motor delays, and his speech difficulties sound very similar to this. His language skills are normal. But, the intelligibility is only @ 25%. He leaves off the first sounds of words. And, if someone asks him a question, he has difficulty getting out the words that he wants to. 2 or 3 word sentences are not usually a problem, and he has learned to express himself for daily needs in this way.

I have been puzzled about the colors, and I am glad you brought it up. He can count and identify some letters. But, he mixes up colors. He, also, likes to overstuff his mouth while feeding. He sees a speech therapist through the school system; but, she doesn't really have a background that deals well with his particular issues. He is now seeing a good speech therapist who has a lot of oral motor and sensory experience, and he is starting to make some improvements. He, also, has a narrow palate and open bite. It will take many exercises and therapy. His general diagnosis is CP.

My other son is 1 1/2, and he has a lot of SPD issues that are not the same. And, some of his speech is actually more understandable than my 3 year old's. My 3 year old has had 3 evaluations for speech in the last few months (including the school one), and I decided to go with the one who had the most experience with his type of speech issues. A good therapist can make a world of difference. Both of the private therapists' evaluations included specific tests to identify oral motor and expressive issues.

Best of luck to you. Sabrina

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