What is Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia?
Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia/Childhood Apraxia of Speech means the child has difficulty with the coordination and movement patterns of speech muscles that are needed for clear and intelligible speech. It can be completely separate condition or it can co-occur with Dyspraxia (motor) which affects sequencing and learning of motor movements such as learning to ride a bike.
Children with Verbal Dyspraxia usually have the same intelligence as other children their age and most of the time they have full understanding of spoken language, they know what they want to say but have difficulty actually saying it. This can be a huge source of frustration for a child so it is recommended that they visit a speech and language therapist for early intervention to ensure that their confidence and self-esteem is not compromised.
If your child has difficulty in making single speech sounds consistently, difficulty sequencing sounds together to make up words or has inconsistent production and inconsistent errors in their speech they may have verbal dyspraxia.
Characteristics identified in the literature include:
- A limited range of consonant and vowel speech sounds
- Overuse of one sound (favourite articulation
- Vowels sound different
- Inconsistencies in speech production
- Breakdown in sequencing in words, particularly as length increases (e.g. had difficulty with multi-syllabic words such as ‘butterfly’
- Errors of omission and substitution
- Voice difficulties affecting volume, length, pitch, quality
- Resonance difficulties affecting the overall tone of the speech
- Difficulties affecting rate, rhythm, stress, intonation
- Unintelligible speech
- Family history of speech, language or literacy difficulties
- Delayed language development – expressive usually more affected than comprehension
- Delayed development of early speech skills e.g. babbling
- Feeding difficulties
- Oral dyspraxia affecting movements of the larynx, lips, tongue or palate
- Generalised developmental dyspraxia affecting fine and /or gross motor co-ordination Literacy difficulties affecting reading, spelling and writing
- Slow progress in therapy
- Literacy difficulties under co-occurring characteristics
Your Speech and Language Therapist will be able to advise whether a label of Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia is appropriate to describe your child’s speech difficulties or whether another descriptor is more appropriate. Diagnosis of Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia is complex and often becomes clearer over time. It is generally recognised that children with Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia do not get better without help. Usually they require regular, direct therapy delivered by a Speech and Language Therapist, supported by frequent practice outside the therapy sessions e.g. at home and /or in school.
Should you wish to book an appointment with one of our Speech & Language Therapists please do no hesitate to contact us