Speech therapy is essential for a young child with speech production difficulties. Children may have problem with speech production that is a result of a developmental delay, or they may be talking, but unintelligible. Several children I see have the cognitive ability to understand language, but they can’t use sound combinations in words to express their ideas. These children use gestures to tell you what they want to request or protest. They can resort to throwing toys, tantrums, or retreating behaviors. Some children have a disorder called “Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia” or “Apraxia.” Children are sometimes misdiagnosed with autism and they may be struggling with a language delay, apraxia and sensory deficits.
A child that meets the criteria on the Apraxia Profile for Developmental Dyspraxia of Speech/Apraxia has difficulty making sound combinations for speech production. He understands what is being said and can follow two-step directions. He may know his colors and can point to objects when requested. He understands what’s going on, but he can’t express his ideas or emotions with language. He may be frustrated and scream when he wants something or when someone didn’t understand his need at the moment. Of course, he may be a two year old within developmental stages that mean that he wants things when he asks. Children with apraxia need an evaluation and time for intervention several days a week.
Once the child with apraxia learns to sequence sounds and syllables in words, he begins to talk. Later, he begins to work on letter-sound correspondence for reading.