Don’t Mistake Childhood Apraxia Of Speech (CAS) For Autism Spectrum Disorder

Nadia Shanab | autism, general advice, parenting, tips
5 Jul 2015

Autism and Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) frequently coincide. Their symptoms “appear” to be similar. To make sure your child is getting the right treatment, you need to make sure you have the right diagnosis.

According to a new study, about 65% of children with autism spectrum disorder suffer from a rare speech disorder called: Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS).

Apraxia occurs in 1 or 2 child out of 1000, while autism occurs 1 in 68 children.

(Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics)

CAS has a completely different approach of treatment than the more common/conventional speech disorder intervention.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a developmental disorder that children don’t outgrow and cannot be cured. However, there are a therapy to help the child speak clearer.

What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)?

The definition according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association:

CAS is a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.


Diagnosis starts with seeing an audiologist to eliminate any hearing impairment that might contribute to the child’s speech problems. Then a certified Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) with experience in CAS will evaluate the case. With enough speech samples from the child, the SLP can tell apart Childhood Apraxia of Speech from other speech disorder.

To learn more about Apraxia symptoms, possible causes, and therapies read here.

Related topic: Sing to improve speech.


Remember that early intervention yields best results.

nadia shanab

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