What is Verbal Apraxia?
Apraxia is a neurological speech disorder in which a person has trouble saying what he or she wants to say correctly and consistently. It is not due to weakness or paralysis of the speech muscles (the muscles of the face, tongue, and lips). It is also known as apraxia or apraxia of speech. The severity can range from mild to severe - completely non-verbal. It is often times of unknown orgin.
Verbal apraxia is present at birth. It is different from a child who is speech delayed. A child with a speech delay develops speech in the same manner as a normal child, they just do so at a slower rate. It is not something as simple as "their sibling talks for them" or they are stubborn. Children with apraxia do not have the motor planning skills to properly pronounce words.
By between ages 2 - 3 years of age, children are generally diagnosed. Before that it is often just considered a speech delay. The main symptom is the lack of developing speech. If you are concered you should speak to your child's physican. They should screen verbal skills at their well-child check ups. If they suspect a problem they can refer you to a speech and language pathologist skilled in working with young children in your area.
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