Childhood Apraxia of Speech - Pt 2

May is designated National Speech-Language-Hearing Month. So, for this month I would like to offer some resources and ideas for parents who have a child with apraxia. I have written about this diagnosis before (For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.) , so if you need some history about Apraxia please refer to that earlier blog. This blog is about things parents can do.

Why? I believe that strong skills in communication are critical to all children's health and happiness throughout all phases of their lives.

From one of my favorite books, Speaking of Apraxia a Parent's Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech, the need to communicate is a basic need (Lindsay pg 20). I believe that speech development needs to be encouraged through intensive therapies that include lots and lots of motor planning exercises that include movement. Why? As a parent, think of your child's development it involves movement and that movement takes planning, motor planning. For example, gross motor rolling over, fine motor pincer grasp with fingers and then finest of fine motor, speech babbling, blowing bubbles, making raspberry sounds etc.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech or CAS is a motor planning disorder. Kids with CAS stuff food in their mouths because chewing requires motor planning that they don't have. They can't blow bubbles or blow out their first birthday candle. My son would jump up and down, up and down, and I realized he did that before he made a sound - he was trying to talk. He needed to get his muscles moving and then he started making speech sounds. So, what can you do as a parent? First, learn who Nancy Kaufmann is.

Nancy Kaufman is a leading authority in Apraxia. Nancy is the Owner & Director of the Kaufman Children's Center, for Speech, Language, Sensory-Motor, and Social Connections, Inc. (KCC), located in West Bloomfield, Michigan. (Nancy Kaufman | Leading Authority in Apraxia | Suburban Speech Center) Learn about her protocols for speech therapy for kids with CAS. Learn about the Kaufmann cards.

I suggest finding a therapist who knows the protocol and can give your child direct speech therapy five days a week for 30 minutes a day. And while you are doing that, check out the resources below and these fun oral motor exercises you can play with your child at home:

  1. Blowing bubbles. Works on pursing the lips and breath control.
  2.  Blow a harmonica. If you need to, just start one note at a time.
  3.  Blow a kazoo. It helps with breath control and vocal control you have to hum to get a sound out of a kazoo.
  4. Practice licking ice cream.
  5. Put a little peanut butter on their lips and have them practice licking it off. (Note: If your child has sensory issues, you may learn that they find this unpleasant, if this applies to your child it would be wise to skip this exercise and avoid the unnecessary stress.)
  6. If you would like to give your child some feedback, let them look at themselves in a mirror while they practice these skills.

Remember, speech is a BASIC NEED. Therefore, it is CRITICAL that you encourage your child and do everything you can help him develop his speech.



National Speech-Language-Hearing Month (

Proloquo2Go - AAC app with symbols - AssistiveWare

Lindsay, L. A. (2012). Speaking of Apraxia (1st ed.). Woodbine House.

Nancy Kaufman | Leading Authority in Apraxia | Suburban Speech Center

Kaufman Children's Center Home • Kaufman Children's Center • Pediatric Special Needs Clinic (