Speech Therapy

Difficulties Associated With Childhood Apraxia Of Speech

Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) has numerous associated difficulties that make it among the more challenging speech disorders handled by speech language pathologists. But there’s also hope for children with CAS and it starts with early diagnosis and intervention.


Difficulty in Diagnosis


The first difficulty encountered by parents of children with CAS is in getting a definitive diagnosis, a difficulty also encountered by speech therapists and other medical professionals. This is due to the absence of a definitive test and/or checklist for childhood apraxia, among other reasons.


In young children, there are many disorders that can be mistaken for CAS mainly because of their similarities in signs and symptoms. CAS, for example, is often mistaken for dysarthria (i.e., poor muscle tone of the mouth) or autism, and it’s an erroneous diagnosis that will affect early intervention measures.


In fact, apraxia experts caution against an official CAS diagnosis before a child reaches three years of age. By age three, other causes for speech delays would have been ruled out and a CAS diagnosis will likely be more accurate.


Apraxia experts, nonetheless, look for red flags in young children including little to no babbling; difficulty in saying a word the same way with each try; loss of previously used words; feeding issues; absence of phonetic diversity; and limited intonation.


Even without a CAS diagnosis, however, parents should still have their child treated for speech difficulties. Speech therapy customized to the specific needs of the child is highly recommended.


Difficulty in Speech Development


Children with CAS have numerous challenges in their speech and language skills obviously.  While many of these issues seem cute and charming, especially in older babies still learning to talk, these aren’t so considering that speech is an integral part of communication. When left untreated, it can affect the child’s social, mental and emotional development in the future.


While each child with CAS has a specific set of symptoms including their onset, severity and duration, the disorder is typically associated with delayed onset of the first words; the decreased ability to form consonant and/or vowel sounds; and just a few spoken words. These symptoms usually appear between 18 and 24 months although, again, these may be attributed to other causes.


The symptoms change, too, as an affected child grows older. Between 2 and 4 years old, a child with suspected CAS can exhibit symptoms like distortions in forming sounds for vowels and consonants; errors in voicing (e.g., “bye” sounds like “pie” or vice versa); and separation of the syllables within a word or between words.


But it isn’t just speech difficulties that children with CAS have to deal with. Many of them also have physical symptoms, such as difficulty in getting their lips, tongues and jaws to their correct positions.


Once a definitive diagnosis has been made, fortunately, children with CAS have high chances of improving their speech and language skills.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

Hearing Aid Prescription, and Speech Therapy


What To Expect From the Parent-Therapist Partnership

Forming a strong partnership with your child’s speech therapist is a must if and when you want your child to truly benefit from speech therapy. Yes, we understand if it feels slightly intimidating, even overwhelming, at first but it is normal so just push through your initial feelings. Your child will need his speech therapist’s guidance and your support so your partnership will be crucial in his progress.


Here are things that you can expect and you will be expected to do in this matter.


Active Participation and Observation


As a parent, you have the responsibility to continue your child’s speech therapy at home. In fact, the best results can be seen when children learn along with their parents and siblings, especially as they spend more time at home than they do inside the speech therapist’s office.


You will then be invited into the sessions to be both an active participant and an observer. You will, for example, be asked to model chewing on a carrot stick for your child or be directed about dealing with your child’s feeding aversions. You will be guided about what and how you should do something.


In many instances, you will also be sent home with specific exercises that you and your child should work on before the next appointment. You should also closely observe the goings-on during the session so you can reinforce the learning at home.


Discussion of Your Concerns


You and your child’s speech therapist will engage in in-depth discussions about your child’s challenges and progress during the treatment course. You must be open to the speech therapist’s concerns in the same way that you should be open about yours. Your give-and-take attitude is a must, too, in establishing mutual respect – and if there’s none of it, then you should consider finding another speech therapist.


The concerns that can be discussed include your family’s priorities for the treatment, the possible adjustments in treatment based on your child’s progress, and even the cost-and-benefit analysis of certain methods. Keep in mind that while the speech therapist has the professional qualifications, the parents have the ultimate responsibility for their children. Such responsibility demands that you put your child’s welfare first and foremost during treatment.


What if there doesn’t seem to be little to no progress? You and your child’s therapist will discuss possible habits at home that act as barriers to success.  You have to be honest about your answers since these will have an impact on your child’s learning.


For example, you may be allowing your child to eat in front of the television instead of with the rest of the family at the dining table. You’re not actually helping your child in the development of his language skills since he has nobody else to talk to during mealtimes, not to mention that he may be feeling isolated.


Of course, your child’s speech therapist will not only provide professional guidance but, more importantly, moral support and encouragement.


If you think your child need a speech therapy, please contact us for further consulation. HK Hearing & Speech Center is a specialist in speech therapy.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

Hearing Aid Prescription, and Speech Therapy


Does Your Child Need Speech Therapy?

During a parent-teacher conference, your child’s teacher expressed concern about his language skills, an observation that you have also noticed at home. Due to your concerns, you bring your child for an evaluation with a certified speech language pathologist.


But will your child actually need speech therapy? Well, it depends, on the findings but here’s a speech therapy guide that will get you started on the right foot.


Reasons for Speech Therapy


First off, we want to emphasize that you and your child aren’t at fault for whatever speech-related issues he may have at present. The best thing to do is to accept the issue, seek professional help, and support your child in his journey, among other things that responsible parents will do.


Children usually require speech therapy for a wide range of reasons including but not limited to cognitive delays (e.g., intellectual development); hearing impairments; weak oral muscles; autism; congenital defects like cleft palate or cleft lip; motor planning issues; articulation problems; fluency disorders; feeding and swallowing disorders; respiratory disorders; and traumatic brain injury.


The speech language pathologist will determine the exact cause – or causes, which can happen in some cases – behind the speech issues. This is an important step in formulating the customized treatment plan for every child, a must since each case is unique. For example, your child may have autism so the speech therapy may also be made in conjunction with other treatments like occupational therapy.


There’s also the matter of effective treatment of the underlying medical condition wherein the speech issues are among its symptoms. If your child has a cleft palate, for example, surgery to resolve it will likely be necessary before speech therapy can be successful.


Early Intervention


If it’s recommended by a licensed health professional, speech therapy should begin as soon as possible. Studies have shown that early intervention – before the child is five years old, specifically – provide better outcomes.


But it doesn’t mean either than older children won’t make progress – they may progress at a slower rate but they will likely show significant improvements over time.  The slower rate of progress can partly be attributed to the presence of learned patterns that they have to change during speech therapy.


Your child’s speech therapist will use a wide range of tools and techniques to address his speech difficulties. Depending on the method used, your child may be involved in one-on-one sessions and/or in small group sessions with the speech therapist. You may or may not be allowed in these sessions although you will be updated about your child’s progress and be provided with exercises to be done at home.  If you think your child need a speech therapy, please contact us at 3100 0555 for further consulation. HK Hearing & Speech Center is a specialist in speech therapy.




HK Hearing & Speech Centre

Specialist of Hearing test & assessment,

Hearing Aid Prescription, and Speech Therapy


Consultation Hours

早上9:30 - 下午1:00 
下午3:00 - 下午6:00
星期三: 早上9:30 - 下午1:00
星期六: 早上9:00 - 下午3:00

Contact Us

騏生商業中心5樓 B室
電話: (852) 3100 0555
傳真: (852) 3100 0556
網址: HKHearingSpeech.com