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Verbal dyspraxia is characterized by the following elements

Dyspraxic children exhibit difficulty in producing sound, syllables and words. This is not caused by muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has difficulty telling the muscles what to do (moving the lips, jaw or tongue for example) which is necessary for producing sound. Children affected know what they mean to say but their brain has difficulty coordinating the necessary muscle movements to pronounce the words.

Verbal dyspraxia is characterized by the following elements:

  • Significant unintelligibility which entails major difficulty in making themselves understood to those around them;
  • Omission and frequent reprocessing of sound. Either the child omits the sound or substitutes one sound for another. These errors are not made or seldom made by children of the same age;
  • Considerable effort is put into pronouncing sounds;
  • Pauses between two sounds or two syllable (for example break (pause) fast instead of breakfast).

Where verbal dyspraxia is exacerbated with feeding difficulties and problems moving the mouth muscles (tongue, lips, jaw) it is referred to as oral dyspraxia.

What are some of the signs of verbal dyspraxia?

With younger children, verbal dyspraxia displays the following features:

  • The child is barely able to babble or does not babble at all;
  • The child is late in pronouncing his/her first words and may display a delay in pronouncing some sounds;
  • The child pronounces only a few consonants and vowels;
  • The child is not able or barely able to combine sounds;
  • The child may insert pauses between some sounds;
  • The child simplifies words by replacing difficult sounds with easier sounds (e.g.: “wobert” for “robert”) or entirely omits difficult sounds (“abbit” for “rabbit”). Although most children will drop some letters, dyspraxic children will do it much more often;
  • The child may exhibit difficulty feeding himself or herself (e.g. fills his/her mouth like a squirrel; does not like or refuses food; spits food out; may choke).

With older children, verbal dyspraxia displays the following features:

  • The child makes inconsistent mistakes in pronouncing certain words (e.g. : “abbit” or “wabbit” for “rabbit”);
  • The child’s comprehension of language is better than his or her expression of words and sounds;
  • The child has difficulty reproducing speech however, imitation of sound is easier than spontaneous pronunciation;
  • The child may hesitate between sounds to be pronounced and may show difficulty coordinating lips, tongue and jaw in order to reproduce sound (e.g.: “a ta”,”wa”,”abit” for “a rabbit”;
  • The child has more difficulty with longer words or sentences;
  • The child has difficulty being understood by an unknown person;
  • The child may exhibit arrhythmic or monotonous speech or may make a pause between syllables or will put the emphasis on the wrong syllable (e.g.: “break” (pause) “fast” instead of “breakfast”).

The child may exhibit other speech pronunciation difficulties :

  • Late development of language;
  • Difficulty with gross and fine motor skills;
  • Difficulty with sensory-motor functions. The child may be more sensitive (hypersensitive) or less sensitive (hyposensitive) when it comes to oral functions such as brushing teeth or crunchy food. The child may be unable to identify an object in his/her mouth through touch.
  • Other speech disorders may be exhibited through difficulty in learning to read, spell and write.
About this page
Updated on 3/6/2015
Created on 3/6/2015
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