Professionals and researchers are not in complete agreement regarding the characteristics that define verbal apraxia (or apraxia of speech). Some of the characteristics mentioned below appear in other severe communication disorders. However, if your child demonstrates several of the following symptoms a speech and language evaluation is highly recommended.
- Does not coo or babble as an infant
- Demonstrates good comprehension of language
- Late talker
- Omits sounds and/or syllables from words
- Sound errors are inconsistent
- Demonstrates a groping pattern with mouth muscles when attempting to repeat words
- Has difficulty imitating speech
- Better use of spontaneous/automatic speech
- Has difficulty with multi-syllabic words (e.g., hospital, animal)
- Difficult to understand (specifically in connected speech)
- Makes sound substitutions (e.g., POP for POT)
- Produces vowel sounds incorrectly
Other learning difficulties, speech and language deficits, and neurological problems are likely co-existing. Therefore, professionals may not readily consider apraxia of speech as a diagnosis. Accurate diagnosis is crucial for a successful treatment plan. A very specific and intensive treatment plan is required for children with signs of apraxia.