If your baby went through a difficult birth, you may be concerned about the possibility a brain injury occurred. You may also be wondering about additional disorders possibly occurring such as Apraxia. What are the early signs of apraxia? A baby who is slow to begin speaking or babbling could have this speech disorder. A toddler who makes errors when trying to speak multiple syllable words also could have apraxia.
Apraxia is not a common problem for babies. According to a study at Penn State College of Medicine, 1 or 2 children out of every 1,000 may develop apraxia. However, doctors should be on the lookout for apraxia signs after a difficult birth because apraxia involves a brain disorder, rather than a physical problem with the mouth or tongue that could be delaying speech.
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Apraxia Signs in Children
Apraxia is a speech disorder that the baby develops at birth. It is related to damage in the area of the brain that controls the mouth, tongue, and facial muscles that form speech. This makes apraxia different from other disorders that may directly affect the mouth or tongue.
Most Common Early Signs of Apraxia
A number of symptoms can indicate that a child may be suffering from apraxia, including:
- Lack of babbling: an average baby begins making babbling sounds by six or seven months, but a baby with apraxia may not make any sounds.
- Varied babbling: this is where the baby does not consistently babble, showing the possibility of some sort of speech disorder.
- Lack of speech: meaning the baby does not begin to form simple words at the expected time of around 12 months.
- Distorted words: where, as the baby begins to speak, some of the baby’s vowel sounds appear to be distorted or inconsistent.
- Inconsistency in words: meaning the baby struggles to maintain consistent vocabulary from day to day.
Speech Errors Can Be an Indication of Apraxia in Babies
As the baby begins to expand his or her vocabulary significantly around 18 months, you may notice additional speech errors. For some babies, the frequency of the errors may not be noticeable until the baby becomes older, which can lead to a delay in the diagnosis of apraxia. These may include:
- Loss of previously mastered words: where a child may have properly used a particular word for a few days before losing the ability to use that same word in the future.
- Omissions of syllables: where the child may simply skip syllables in words that involve a difficult mouth shape or that are difficult to pronounce.
- Increased errors: where, as the child’s words begin to contain multiple syllables, the child will begin making more noticeable speech errors with more frequency than in the past.
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Brain Disorders and Apraxia
There are a few different reasons apraxia could appear in a baby, most of which are related to some sort of brain injury or disorder. It is common for apraxia to be part of a diagnosis with another brain disorder.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 1 in 345 children in the United States have cerebral palsy, again making it more common than apraxia. Cerebral palsy often causes significant physical problems for the child, affecting balance and the ability to move. But it also affects vision, hearing, and speech.
Autism is far more common in children than apraxia, as the CDC estimates 1 in 54 children have a condition that appears on the autism spectrum disorder. It is relatively common for a child who has apraxia to also have an autism diagnosis.
When a deaf child also has apraxia, the child will have difficulty speaking verbally, but he or she also may have difficulty properly signing. The same injury to the brain that causes speech problems may affect the ability to use sign language too.
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So what are the early signs of apraxia? Even though this is not a common speech disorder for children, it is something that doctors and parents will want to watch for when the delivery was difficult, and where it is possible that the baby suffered some sort of head or brain injury during the birth process.
Because a brain injury for a baby during the delivery often could have been prevented, you may be able to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor if he or she made a preventable error during the birth. You may be eligible to receive a settlement amount for the pain, suffering, reduction in quality of life, and medical bills you have related to the diagnosis.
If you believe you may have legal grounds to bring a lawsuit against the doctor after the diagnosis of apraxia, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group for a free review of your case. If you choose to hire us, we will be ready to begin working on your behalf immediately. Contact us to learn more today at (800) 222-9529.