Apraxia of Speech: Children with apraxia have difficulties with speech. Their brain has difficulty coordinating movement of the speech muscles. In a very young child, they may have a delay in speech development and trouble eating. In older children, they may have difficulty imitating sounds, be difficult to understand, have difficulty producing longer words or have more difficulty with speech when they are anxious.
Causes: Apraxia can be developmental or acquired. Developmental apraxia occurs in children and is present at birth. The causes for developmental apraxia are unknown; however researchers have found that children with this condition often have a family history of communication disorders or learning disabilities. Acquired apraxia can occur at any time in life and may be due to a brain injury, brain tumor or stroke.
Possible complications: A child may acquire apraxia due to a brain injury such as a stroke, infections or traumatic brain injury. It may also occur due to a genetic disorder, syndrome or metabolic condition such as velocardiofacial syndrome and galactosemia.
Treatment: Speech language therapy is necessary to help children with apraxia of speech. They will most likely need frequent and intensive one-on-one therapy. They may also benefit from learning additional forms of communication such as sign language.
Prognosis: In many cases, with treatment, children with apraxia can live normal, healthy lives. However, the long-term prognosis depends on the cause and severity of apraxia as well as the effectiveness of speech therapy.
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