Apraxia of Speech

Scrappy Doo has been diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech and secondary Expressive Language Disorder. On top of this, he has been diagnosed with an unknown Immune Disorder. Whether or not the two are linked is something we may never know. Scrappy never babbled much as an infant and we began noticing he didn't say as much as other kids...family and friends would just say "It is just the older kids talking for him"...I listened...but my Momma heart knew different. By the time he was two, we began searching for answers...this is not as easy as you would think.Part of the problem was Scrappy was also really sick. We had just discovered his Immune Disorder. Talking was on the back burner... He got his concrete diagnosis at 29 months.

This is important to me for people to understand because "EVERY CHILD DESERVES A VOICE"

Did you know he wants to tell me his name, but he can't?
Did you know he wants to tell me he loves me, but he can't?
Did you know he wants to tell me what he wants to eat, what he likes, what he did yesterday, what shirt he wants to wear, but he can't?

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a disorder that is more easily defined by what it is NOT. It is NOT a muscle disorder. It is not a cognitive disorder (although it may have some impact on language as well as speech). The problem occurs when the brain tries to tell the muscles what to do - somehow that message gets scrambled. It's like trying to watch cable t.v. stations without the right descrambler. There is nothing wrong with the t.v. station, and nothing wrong with your set. It's just that your set can't read the signal that the station is sending out. The child's language-learning task is to figure out how to somehow unscramble the mixed message her/his brain is sending to her/his muscles. The visible results (symptoms) of CAS are:

*little or no babbling in infancy; few consonants
*understanding of language much better than production of language
*slow,effortful,or halting speech ; sometimes seems to struggle
*very hard to understand
*may make slow progress in therapy

CAS has much more effect on voluntary speech than automatic speech. This means that the more your child wants to communicate a particular message, the harder it will be! So, if you happen to hear her/him say something once when there is no pressure, and you say "Say it again!" you are guaranteeing that she/he won't be able to. It is vital to put minimum communication pressure on the child. (Note, your child's speech language pathologist will need to put communication pressure on the child.) Low-pressure verbal activities are the most important things a parent can do to help. These include songs (especially repetitive songs, like Old MacDonald and finger plays), poems, verbal routines (pat-a-cake), repetitive books ( 5 little monkeys) and daily routines ( prayers, social greetings). If your child is unable to communicate effectively right now, the use of sign language or a communication board to supplement speech temporarily not only decreases the frustration but also seems to help the speech development. Dyspraxia may affect other motor functions (e.g. fine motor control, gross motor planning) and other language functions (e.g. learning grammatical function words like "the", "is," "or,"etc.; learning more complex grammatical forms like passive; spelling; putting words together into a sentence or sentences together into a paragraph, etc.) Occupational therapy, physical therapy, and learning disabilities assistance are often helpful for children who have these difficulties. CAS can be a very frustrating disorder at times. It is common for children to make progress in "fits and starts" -- good progress for a little while, then none, then more, etc.

Some researchers believe CAS is neurological since it is directly linked to the brain...however MRI's on people with CAS do not show anything (unless it is secondary from brain trauma)

It is a long road...but Scrappy has won over his therapists...they adore him, he has the best personality...always willing to give a smile and a hug. As for his Immune Disorder....we are in the process of figuring it all out and piecing things together...and doing what we can to promote optimum health and reduced access to germs. When I say unknown it is because his tests have shown to be low in a few detrimental areas...but that does not make pinpointing any easier. At this point he is prone to a lot of ear, and sinus infections. Bronchitis, and pneumonia...all of which he has had more than multiple times. Anyhooo...here is my adorable little Scrappy Doo.

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