Childhood speech apraxia is a speech disorder that prevents children from speaking and communicating clearly. It is not related to muscle weakness or movement disorders. Instead, childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) occurs because the brain cannot coordinate and control the intricate movements needed to speak properly.
Childhood speech apraxia may occur as a result of a brain injury or stroke before, during, or after birth. It may also occur because of some genetic disorders. In most cases, the exact cause may remain unknown.
CAS may support a birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit if you can link your child’s disorder to a traumatic or complicated labor and delivery or a preventable injury during gestation.
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Why Childhood Apraxia Causes Problems with Speech and Communication
Many people assume there is a problem with muscle control when a child cannot speak clearly. This assumption is especially true when the child has other conditions, such as cerebral palsy. However, childhood speech apraxia is not related to muscle weakness.
Instead, there is a problem in the pathways of the brain that think words and then tell the muscles of the lips, tongue, and throat to form those words. Apraxia prevents these pathways from working properly, to some degree. Apraxia may be mild, moderate, or severe. It can affect some sounds more than others. Some children struggle with only a few sounds, while others cannot speak well enough to communicate verbally.
Childhood apraxia can be especially frustrating for children. They know what they want to say and communicate, but their mouth does not cooperate to speak as they need it to.
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Living with Childhood Apraxia of Speech
Childhood speech apraxia is different for each child. If your child suffered a birth injury, apraxia will be present from birth. The early signs may begin when the child is only a few months old. They may have feeding issues, fail to speak on time, and fail to speak at all.
Most children with CAS will begin seeing a speech-language pathologist during their toddler or preschool years and may receive therapy as many as five times a week to start. You may notice that your child:
- Has delayed language
- Stresses the wrong syllable of a word
- Pronounces the same word differently at different times
- Changes certain sounds when they pronounce them
- Speaks shorter words much more clearly
- May struggle to speak clearly or at all, especially when compared to others their age
Some children with childhood speech apraxia also face other challenges that affect their everyday lives. They may struggle with fine motor skills, making it difficult to communicate their thoughts in writing. In addition, many have problems with reading, spelling, and handwriting.
Treatment generally focuses on speech therapy. Children can often learn to speak more clearly or learn other ways to communicate through speech therapy. Some children may need to use computers, tablets, or other devices to communicate if they cannot develop clear speech.
Building a Birth Injury Case Based on Your Child’s Speech Apraxia Diagnosis
If you believe your child’s childhood speech apraxia diagnosis is the result of a preventable birth injury, you should discuss their diagnosis, prognosis, and needs with a birth injury attorney who takes on cases in your area. Your attorney can help you understand how your state requires you to prove medical malpractice, the steps in the legal process, and the timelines involved.
Your attorney, if they believe you have a strong case, will gather evidence to support your allegations of medical negligence, taking steps that include:
- Identifying the appropriate medical expert witness
- Obtaining the relevant medical records
- Providing these records to the medical expert
- Filing a complete claim
- Negotiating a settlement
- Filing a lawsuit against the doctor or facility, if needed
With a strong case against the doctor or hospital, your attorney may be able to recover compensation for your family. This compensation could cover expenses and losses that include:
- Diagnosis and treatment costs
- Speech pathologist expenses
- Current and future therapy costs
- Ongoing support as needed
- Communication devices and other prescribed equipment
- Time missed at work
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Other non-economic damages
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Speak to a Member of Our Team About Your Case Today
With the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, you can get help today. Treatment and support for your child’s speech apraxia can be expensive and stressful. We can help you understand your case and explain if we believe you can hold the doctor or hospital who delivered your child accountable.
Call (800) 222-9529 today for your free case consultation. Our team is here for you and your family and will provide you with the support you need during your case review.