Do you ever wonder what happens inside your mouth when you speak or swallow? While we all take for granted that we have the ability to speak (and swallow) A LOT of work happens behind the curtain. Our mouth (aka oral cavity) is where the sounds we hear are fine tuned using numerous muscles and other anatomy of the oral and nasal cavities. For kiddos sometimes these muscles and articulators simply do not want to cooperate which is usually why adults are unable to understand them or why they have difficulty efficiently chewing and swallowing their food. Speech-language pathologists evaluate the functioning of the mechanisms needed to produce intelligible (clear) speech sounds and ensure safe chewing/swallowing. They also are highly trained to provide treatment when these mechanisms are not efficient. Check out this video to see what our mouth looks like while we speak, sing, playing instruments, and swallow!
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. CAS is a relatively uncommon disorder (1-2 children per 1,000= 0.1-0.2%) and one of the lesser known disorders treated by Speech-Language Pathologists. There are some identified causes of CAS (e.g., stroke, trauma, chromosomal abnormalities) but we are not truly sure of all of the causes.
In a nutshell:
The child knows what he/she wants to say and the brain sends the message to the mouth (lips, jaw, and tongue) for appropriate placement to produce sounds, but the mouth doesn't cooperate.
Keep Reading for information on Symptoms, Testing, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Resources
Sometimes I get the questions “why isn’t she talking yet” or “will he ever talk?” In these moments it’s important to explain the communication pyramid. The skills at the bottom of the pyramid (purple and blue) must be acquired before the skills at the top can be. This is why we have to address play skills and receptive language before we can expect them to use sentences or master a conversation.
Halloween is a really fun time…for most kiddos. But for those having difficulty with communicating, trick-or-treating can be very difficult task and so stressful that some will exclude themselves from enjoying such an activity. We truly believe that although we all may have differences these are simply that and we must find different ways to include all children that would like to participate. One of our therapists came up with this simple craft you can do at home WITH your child to help give him/her a voice to be included in trick-or-treating.
It’s no secret to my families that I am not a fan of sippy cups. I get that they are a matter of convenience, but there are reasons why we should just skip over the sippy and head straight to open and straw cups. Let’s check out the pros and cons from a speech-language pathologist’s (and oral cavity) perspective.
Amy Grant is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, Certified Autism Specialist and Clinic Director of Therapy Center of Buda.
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