FUNCTIONAL – (articulation/phonology) or from an underlying developmental or acquired issue, involving motor.
ORGANIC – structural (cleft lip/palate) or hearing loss. Children with recurrent ear infections may development middle ear hearing loss which could impact the ability to hear sounds and sound sequences. If your child has recurrent ear infections and you suspect a speech concern, please see your pediatrician for referrals to an audiologist and speech-language pathologist.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech typically referred to as CAS is a diagnosis for those children who display difficulty in coordinating motor speech movements to combine sounds to formulate words. This impacts a child’s ability to be understood. The more complex the sound movements the more errors are observed. While every child is unique in their own way, children with CAS often exhibit the following patterns:
You may know someone who repeats the first sound of a word such as “p, p, p, p, popcorn”, appears stuck on a word and/or elongates a word, “mmmmme”. These are characteristics of interrupted speech during communication affecting the flow, rate and rhythm of speech production. Many of us have dysfluent movements during our varied levels of emotion but a consistent pattern of dysfluent speech requires attention and therapy intervention for both children and adults.
Childhood Dysfluency occurs for a short period often when children are learning so much in the formative years. Their thoughts are faster than their mouths can formulate the words. However, the severity and frequency will determine the need for treatment. Stuttering with notable secondary behaviors such as a family member who displays extreme effort to convey a message with head shaking, feet tapping, shows signs of body tension and/or eye blinks, or even avoids talking to unfamiliar people, on the phone or in public places, warrants intervention and support from a speech-language pathologist.