Speech Production/Verbal Apraxia Therapy

When your child can’t get his or her point across it can be incredibly frustrating. And not understanding what your child is trying to tell you can be downright disheartening.

You’re both trying. But, your child just can’t get the words out correctly.

Speech production – the actual forming of words and sounds – requires accurate movements of the jaw, lips, and tongue (i.e. your speech muscles).  Not everyone’s muscles are ready and able to perform as they should.

Sometimes the brain struggles to develop plans for speech movement. It’s not that the speech muscles are weak. Rather, they can’t perform normally because the brain can’t tell them exactly what to do. This is known as verbal apraxia.

If you’ve come here because your child has speech production issues – or has been diagnosed with verbal apraxia– we can help.

What Is Speech Production/Verbal Apraxia Therapy?

We use a multi-sensory approach to get your child’s brain and speech muscles to work together.  We use weekly one-on-one sessions to deliver the interventions that are most appropriate for your child.

Symptoms typically vary from child to child, and may change as your child grows up, we’ll use multiple approaches that best suit your child at a given time or overtime. [Strand, E. A., Stoeckel, R., & Baas, B. (2006). Treatment of severe childhood apraxia of speech: A treatment efficacy study. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 14(4), 297-307.]

We might also provide Speech Production/Verbal Apraxia Therapy as part of a more intensive therapy model for our distance-therapy families, or for anyone who we need to jump-start the treatment process with an intensive model.

What Causes Speech Production Issues Or Verbal Apraxia?

Since verbal apraxia occurs in the brain, it’s classified as a neurological disorder. But, there may not be obvious causes. Apraxia could be caused by an infection, illness, injury, or trauma that affected the brain’s development. It could also be related to other conditions including some genetic disorders, degenerative disorders, metabolic disorders, and even seizure disorders. [https://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589935338&section=Causes]

How Are Speech Production Issues Or Verbal Apraxia Evaluated?

Verbal apraxia isn’t very common and can be hard to diagnosis. Symptoms can also vary from mild to severe.  The most frequently found symptoms of apraxia are:

  • Your child has difficulty moving smoothly from one sound, syllable or word to another
  • He or she makes groping movements with the jaw, lips or tongue to try to make the correct movement for speech sounds
  • Your child attempts to use the correct vowel but ends up saying it incorrectly
  • He or she stresses the wrong syllable such as pronouncing “banana” as “BUH-nan-uh” instead of “buh-NAN-uh” or put the emphasis on all syllables, such as saying “BUH-NAN-UH”
  • He or she might also separate syllables by putting a pause or gap between syllables so that it sounds like two words instead of one
  • His or her errors might be inconsistent meaning that different kinds of mispronunciations occur on the same word when repeated over and over again.
  • He or she has difficulty imitating simple words or says the wrong word such as  “down” instead of “town,” or “zoo” instead of “Sue.”


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