Language, Literacy And Learning in Kids with Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Literacy issues have been dealt with in the section on “Co-Existing Issues in CAS”. Children with CAS are at risk for reading, writing, spelling and learning, including complex sensorimotor and sequential memory functions, thought to be due to underlying deficits in CAS. A very recent study on Dutch speaking children with CAS (Nijland, Terband and Maassen, June 2015) compared children with CAS to typically developing children and followed them for about fifteen months. Cognitive tests included tasks that tested repetitive hand movements, auditory rhythm, number recall, word recall, finger localization, labyrinths, spacial memory and attention showed a significant lower score in Children with CAS. They found that with simple sensori- motor tasks, Children with CAS showed a delay but could catch up with typically developing children, however with complex motor and sequential memory functions, children with severe CAS persistently scored lower than typically developing children, suggesting an underlying deficit as a feature of CAS. An example of this is children having difficulty following commands that have more that two parts to it.

This means that the symptom complex of CAS not only involves errors of sequencing speech movements, but suggests an impairment in sequential functioning in other domains that were nonverbal in nature eg specific areas motor functioning. This implies that children with CAS have other aspects of learning that can be impaired.  Children with CAS find it difficult to do complex tasks.  Teachers will notice this and should be aware to provide the extra time and instruction and support and cuing necessary for tasks to be understood and effectively completed.

Parents thus play a key role in supporting their children’s success academically and otherwise. Specifically they can do this by providing any out of school supports in terms of extra tuition, math support, assistance with expressive writing etc, . Research has shown that one of the most effective forms of advocacy in the classroom setting is having a heart to heart chat with your child’s teacher about your child, the person that they are, the special needs that surround them, and telling as much of a story about them to their teachers as possible.

Thus advocacy is key. You have to speak up for your child each and every year, to each and every teacher, make sure they understand what Childhood Apraxia of Speech is, as well as any other special needs your child might be faced with.

Get to know your child’s teachers, stay informed, volunteer, and provide homework support as well as any additional academic tuition as needed.

Here are some other general ways to help your child:

  • Set Routines
  • Spend time daily talking to your child about his/her day, interests, friends, school. Answer their questions, pick them up when they are down, make them feel important, praise them.
  • Give them responsibilities at home.
  • Build language skills by playing games, talking to them, naming things that you see
  • Read, Read, Read! to your child, daily. This is probably one of the most valuable things you can do to help your child achieve.
  • Give lot of opportunities to understand the sequence of events and tasks. Children with CAS have difficulty with program sequencing. This is an important skill, that can be learned with repetition. eg sequence of instructions, sequence of events.
  • Arrange for any necessary help/tuition with areas of difficulty eg reading/mathematics etc.
  • (Try to ) Limit screen time. The evidence is overwhelming to support this.  Children don’t learn language by passively listening to the television, they need opportunities to talk.  Interactive play and  helping them use their imaginations and enjoying play time are far more effective. Good luck !

Know that there is no single “magic pill” to help with any possible learning/literacy issues that your child may have. To get around these issues, support is necessary, both in school and out of school. Alberta Education supports an Inclusive Education program. Sometimes though, your child’s teacher may find it challenging to provide the extra time in the classroom setting to assist your child, even though they have a responsibility to do so. Home support, as well as advocacy, is therefore key.


For Teachers, the Inclusive Education Library, LearnAlberta, including sample IPP templates you should know brochure pdf download Back to School

Persuit of Research Apraxia IEP

Helping Children with Learning Disabilities/Practical Strategies

Alberta Education, Home Page

Alberta Education Tips for Parents

Alberta Education Resources for Parents

Learn Alberta Resources By Programs of Study

Inclusion Alberta

Centre for Literacy, Edmonton

About Jolly Phonics   See also “Co-exisiting Conditions in CAS)


Read more: Literacy and Children with Apraxia of Speech, Sharon Gretz Processing and Comprehension Issues

Literacy Programs: Apraxia-Kids.Org/Reading and Other Literacy Related Resources and Programs

Easily accessible in Canada: Jolly Phonics

Effective Reading Strategies for kids with Learning Disabilities.

About Learning Disabilites/Disorders

Medline Plus/Learning Disorders



Nijland L., Terband H., Maassen B., Cognitive Functions in Childhood Apraxia of Speech, Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, Vol 58, 550-565, June 2015.
Beate Peter, Le Button, Carol Stoel-Gammon, Kathy Chapman, wendy H. Raskind, Deficits in Sequenctial Processing manifest in motor
and linguistic tasks in a multigenerational family with Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Clin Linguist Phon. Author Manuscript, Downloaded from Google Scholar
Specific Learning Disabilities, Section VI Chapter 33, Capute & Accardo’s Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in Infancy and Childhood, Third Edition Volume II: The Spectrum Of Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, 2008.