Although apraxia and autism have some similar characteristics, they are two separate diagnoses that your child should be screened for. The two go together often, so it can be difficult to tease out the characteristics of childhood apraxia of speech over what is caused by autism. Speech therapy for children with apraxia is beneficial and can help your child better manage their symptoms. At Infinite Therapy Solutions, we work with children of all ages who struggle with apraxia and need speech therapy services.
Apraxia of Speech Causes
Developmental apraxia that is present at birth does not have any specific cause. There are some patterns seen in families, giving apraxia a potential genetic component. Some have said that apraxia of speech causes are due to neurological dysfunction, but this is not clear. For those who have acquired apraxia, the symptoms occur after a trauma, brain tumor, stroke or other types of brain injury. Since symptoms of apraxia can be so similar to those of autism, and it is important to know the differences in causes.
Speech Therapy for Childhood Apraxia
A speech therapist can work with your child on language development, vocabulary and better motor skills. Speech therapy takes time, and a skilled therapist can help your child gain the confidence they need to succeed. You will be taught ways to enhance your child’s progress in between therapy sessions. If your child is very young and non-verbal, you might begin with signing words at the same time. This takes away the stress involved with trying to get words in the right order. Your child will communicate with simple words and signs, and eventually stop using sign language.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech Treatment Ideas
While a therapist will give you strategies to try at home with your child, you can use basic, repetitive books to get started. Repetition is beneficial for your child with apraxia of speech, so reading books with your child is going to make a difference. In addition, try introducing the word of the day or a sound of the day and have some fun with it. Try to stay relaxed when working with your child, as they are already struggling to speak. Treatment ideas should not feel like work and give your child the time they need to get through the activities without rushing.
Symptoms of Apraxia and Autism
Autism and apraxia share a range of symptoms, which is why it can be hard to determine the specific diagnosis of your child. Few babbling noises, difficulty feeding, unusual patterns of speech, fine and gross motor problems, and self-regulation problems can all point to a diagnosis of either apraxia or autism.
Apraxia symptoms that are not related to autism include:
- drooling that is more than normal.
- using gestures and other non-verbal forms of communication.
- first words appear at a normal age but the vocabulary is slow to develop.
- social integration and abilities are normal.
- order and routine aren’t necessarily important.
Children with both apraxia and autism spectrum disorder struggle with communication, while a child that is only on the autism spectrum may develop speech and language normally. The first step is to have your child screened to determine what is going on. Once a diagnosis is made, you’ll begin to learn about childhood apraxia of speech treatment ideas from your child’s treatment team.
Apraxia and autism can co-occur, and it’s important to assess what the symptoms are. Your child can benefit from speech therapy to address speech issues and move forward with their communication skills. Contact Infinte Therapy Solutions today at 201-455-3144 and set up an initial consultation. Get your child the help they need for childhood apraxia and autism.