Speech Apraxia

by Brandi
(Charleston, WV)

I just entered a question regarding my 2 year old and his beloved pacifier (click here to read it and the helpful response from one reader). And if we didn't have enough to deal with already, our speech therapist told us last night that she thought he had speech apraxia. Basically, his brain isn't, for some reason, able to tell his mouth how to make certain sounds. He is saying all kinds of words, but isn't able to reproduce some certain sounds. When she asks him to repeat a word, it comes out as something totally different. According to her he is in for years of speech therapy before the problem could be corrected.

Has anyone else's child had this? If so, what was your experience? I could sure use some reassurance on this one.

The SPD Help Line Answers...

Hi Brandi,
I want to let you know that I do not have as much experience on the speech apraxia issues, but I did check with a friend who is a Speech Pathologist, just so I could understand more. This is her response to my specific questions I asked her about the diagnosis, the age of diagnosis, and therapy involved with it...

"Regarding the current question: It IS possible to diagnose apraxia of speech early and

typically the therapy time is longer than your traditional 'articulation' issues, so I would tend to agree with the therapist that has been working with him. The good news is, he has begun services at an early age which is always, always helpful. Another SLP I work with suggested the following websites as good resources (as with all websites there are some that agree with the theories and others that don't, but they at least give some good info about apraxia and possible therapy approaches etc.):"

www.apraxia-kids.org and www.kidspeech.com.

So... Brandi, I checked them out. They look like they will be very useful to you! www.Apraxia-Kids.org has a newsletter, an online support group, resources and gobs of information for you. The second link, www.kidspeech.com has some great information about therapies and specialized treatment methods that may give you some good information. They also have information on related sensory integration/sensory processing issues and therapies as well.

It may be helpful to access some of these above resources!

But, of course, NOW, the plea to our visitors... as Brandi asked...
Has anyone else's child had speech apraxia? If so, what was your experience? I could sure use some reassurance on this one.

Can anyone help? Comments are welcome below!

I hope you find the answers and support you are looking for.

Take care.
Michele Mitchell

Comments for Speech Apraxia

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Mar 05, 2013
My son has verbal apraxia.
by: Kathryn

My son was 5 1/2 weeks early and late reaching milestones. Around age 18 months I knew there was more going on than just being a late talker. His pediatrician said he was in the normal range so I left it alone until age 2. I asked the pediatrician again at his 2 yr check up and she suggested he go to speech therapy. The first one we went to said he was just delayed. Then I took him to a pediatric neurologist. He was screened for autism, but was diagnosed with verbal apraxia. He's now almost 4 and things have been very difficult. Although his speech has improved a good bit, his behavior has gotten worse no matter what I do. Another teacher at his school told me today that her son was much like mine. He has Sensory Processing Disorder. She recommended reading Sensational Kids by Lucy Jane Miller. I downloaded on my iPad and have read a good bit of it. I definitely think my son has some sensory issues. Now we get to go through all of the testing again. At least there's hope that he will get better.

Dec 19, 2007
Speech Apraxia
by: Anonymous

Hello Brandi,
It's interesting what different things you hear from people who supposedly have the same medical training! I noticed my son's speech patterns resembled what I had read about speech apraxia...so I asked his pediatric developmental doctor and was informed that this cannot be diagnosed before the age of ~8. So...now I have no idea. It does seem like the earlier the intervention, the better, so maybe I should ask again. AJ (my son) is 3 1/2 and he's the same as your son. Some words just will not come out of his mouth. He also has a very hard time with colors. I don't think he's ever told me the correct color of anything. So I wonder to myself if he's severely color-blind, or if that information just doesn't "compute" for some reason. His speech is the first thing that was ever noticed, I'm the one who started asking about SPD. He's in speech therapy now, and the therapist has not mentioned Apraxia, and you'd think she would know...so I'm back at square one. Another thing that AJ does is add an "s" to the end of words that shouldn't have one. Does your son do anything like that? Well, I know I've raised questions and not answered any, but at least we're not alone, right? For a long time, I read about SPD kids that were super gifted and read early and talked early, etc. and it bummed me out. I actually posted on this help line and Michelle wrote back that it was actually common for SPD kids to have language disorders as well. Post back if you get any new info.

Dec 11, 2007
My son has Developmental Apraxia and SPD
by: Rachel

Our son has been diagnosed with SPD (he avoids sensory input) and also Developmental Apraxia directly related to the sensory avoidance. At age 2 we were told he was severely autistic and referred to a developmental pediatrician. After a ton of testing, she said he was NOT autistic, but had a severe case of SPD with sensory avoidance - which made others think he was in an autistic world - and developmental apraxia (he had no sounds other than a high pitched scream) which reinforced the incorrect autism label. His IQ is actually very high, as is his receptive language.

By three years of age he still has no words, but after a year of speech therapy along with the OT, he does have a variety of sounds and communicates extremely well with a PECS system and some sign language. Once he was able to communicate that way, the screaming pretty much stopped.

At first they did OT and ST separately, but discovered by accident that he can pronounce sounds WHILE getting vestibular stimulation and have since do some combined therapy.

It is very slow going, but we are seeing results. Hang in there! We were also blessed in that our OT did her Masters Thesis on SPD, so she is very knowledgeable, we went through two before we found one who knew what to do to get some results.

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