Recently I had the opportunity to visit with my friend Martha who is a speech therapist. I was quite surprised to see several decks of baby sign language flash cards in her therapy room. I had to ask why someone whose main objective was to help someone speak was making use of sign language as a support tool for her sessions. Martha was quick and eager to tell me about several patients under three years of age who were hard at work overcoming childhood apraxia of speech, also known as developmental verbal dyspraxia.
To put it simply CAS is a condition where the brain struggles to direct the body to act in ways conducive to speech. A child with apraxia does to have muscle weakness or paralysis hindering speech. Instead, the order from the brain to form sounds through the use of muscles and movements is not happening the way it should. A child with CAS lacks precision and consistency when vocalizing and in some instances he or she will not speak but will demonstrate full understanding of words and concepts.
Little ones diagnosed with CAS have three key characteristics that differentiate their condition from other speech disorders:
- Inconsistent errors in consonants and vowels in repeated production of syllables and words
- Lengthened coarticulatory transitions between sounds and syllables (pauses).
- Inappropriate prosody (prosody is the rhythm of speech as in the way poetry has musicality), especially in the realization of lexical or phrasal stress
What Causes Childhood Apraxia of Speech?
The cause for CAS is not known but generally speaking there are genetic factors and instances where this motor disorder is related to injuries at birth
This is How Baby Sign Language Flash Cards Help
CAS is not curable but children can overcome it through early intervention and therapy. Therapy for CAS has a multi-prong approach. Therapy is led by a speech pathologist and is handled in short, high intensity sessions that tackle motor learning.
Baby Sign Language Flash Cards are useful at all stages of therapy as one of many augmentative communication resources.
-Toddlers are encouraged to sign creating opportunities to refine motor skills.
-Toddlers have the chance to point aiding in the communication of immediate needs.
-Toddlers are able to receive visual feedback associated to specific verbalizations.
-Toddlers can have a tactile experience by holding the card and engaging with the therapist.
We encourage you to use all of our free printable resources or purchase our affordable and durable flash card sets.