Oral and Verbal Apraxia

What is oral apraxia?
Oral Apraxia is a disorder where a child exhibits difficulty easily coordinating and initiating movement of the jaw, lips, tongue and soft palate. This may impact feeding and/or speech skills.

As children develop motor skills the muscle function of the oral mechanism continues to become more sophisticated and interactive. If this does not occur in a progressive pattern feeding and/or sound and speech production will be negatively impacted.

Characteristics of Oral Apraxia are:
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Teeth Grinding
  • An Open Mouth Posture
  • Tongue Protrusion
  • Over-stuffing Mouth with Food
  • Eats a Very Limited Diet
  • Swallows Food Without Chewing
  • A History of Nursing and Feeding Difficulties as an Infant

How is it treated?
Therapy with the speech pathologist will incorporate direct facilitation of the muscles of the oral mechanism. This is done gradually so the child learns to accept and enjoy the treatment. As the child begins to accept this therapy, suggestions for home follow up will be given to the family.

What is verbal apraxia?
Verbal Apraxia is a disorder where a child has great difficulty with the volitional production of speech. Other terms used for verbal apraxia are "Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (DVD)", "Developmental Apraxia of Speech (DAS)", or "Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)".

Characteristics of Verbal Apraxia are:
  • A child does little or no babbling as an infant.
  • The child understands much more language that he/she can produce.
  • Speech is slow and effortful and often it is a struggle and hard to understand.
  • Limited speech sound repertoire.
  • Inconsistent speech sound errors.
  • Longer utterances produce worse speech.
  • Anxiety may negatively impact a child's speech quality.

How it is treated?
The speech pathologists at PTC will design a treatment plan that is customized for each child. This will include stimulation of correct sound production in a fun play setting and ideas for the parent to incorporate at home to stimulate the child’s skills.

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