Developmental apraxia of speech – DAS
DAS is a speech disorder that interferes with a child’s ability to correctly pronounce sounds, syllables and words.
Even though the child knows exactly what he wants to say, he cannot say it correctly. Sometimes he cannot even begin. Either the wrong sound comes out, or many sounds are left out all together. At that particular time, the motor plan is not accessible. A parent may hear words when the child is playing alone or when he is angry, but when asked to say the same word, he can’t. This can be very frustrating for both the child and the parents. DAS is a neurologically based speech disorder. It is caused by subtle brain impairment or malfunctioning. No one currently know exactly what this brain impairment is or what causes it. For a young child with DAS, a limited speech sound repertoire is frequently the main characteristic of his speech.nPerhaps he can say short single words well, but as soon as he uses two or three words in a row, he drops all the ending sounds. The child learns that he cannot trust himself to communicate his ideas well. the parent may wonder if the child is being careless or lazy.
- DAS children manage better imitating speech than if he said it without your model.
- Anxiety may affect a child’s ability to speak well. A child may be able to say a word or phrase well in a relaxed setting but, when he is asked to, often, the child fails.
- Children with DAS may also lose words.
Children with DAS not only have difficulty retrieving the motor plans for speech, they also may experience difficulties accessing vocabulary. In the young child, this problem may show up as a tendency to be aggressive with other children. In older children, difficulty finding the right words may show up as shyness. Some DAS children may choose one topic to be very good at discussing, but, if the topic is changed, you find them quiet and unsure of their ability to communicate. Many children with DAS also have difficulty learning how to put things in sequence or in the right order. This difficulty may also be found later as they learn written language. Often, children with DAS have problems learning to read and spell. Often their difficulty with written language is similar to the problems they had with spoken language.
As a parent of a DAS child, the most helpful thing that you can do at home is make your child feel as good as possible about his speech and about himself.