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Dr. Marilyn Agin is in private practice as a Developmental Pediatrician, and the Medical Director for Early Intervention in New York City.  If you have medical questions regarding "Late Talker vs. Apraxia," why not "Ask Our Dr."

Click here for "Ask The Dr."

Why Early Intervention?

Apraxia is not rare; many people just do not know the name or symptoms yet. The problem with this is that children with apraxia benefit greatly from early intervention.  Apraxia does NOT self-resolve.  The prognosis for a child with severe apraxia to one day speak like everyone else, is greater for a child who receives a diagnosis and appropriate therapy at 3, than that of a child who first receives a diagnosis and appropriate therapy at 6.   So why are some children with apraxia diagnosed after early intervention years?  

According to Dr. Diane Paul-Brown, director of clinical issues in speech-language pathology for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Rockville, Md., "We now know the earlier the intervention, the better the brain can reorganize."  Today, parents are generally told to look for signs of delay early, even in a baby's first year, and seek help. No one should assume that a silent 2-year-old is a budding genius; silence may be a sign of hearing loss or a neurological disorder.  

The new advice is based in part on studies showing that children with speech impairments are more likely to have reading and social problems later. Working with very young children, with malleable brain connections, may rewire defective connections.  And in the book Developmental Apraxia of Speech, by Hall, Jordan and Robin, called "Working with Preschoolers Exhibiting DAS (Developmental Apraxia of Speech)" starting on page 174, here is another quote:

"...Lohr (1978) stated that with her population of nonverbal clients with apraxia, 'children who were younger when we began working with them progressed more rapidly' (p. 6).  Our experience has been that the overall outcome has been best for those children with DAS who were identified as possibly exhibiting DAS and received services as very young children...

A parent with a non verbal child may search on the internet under the key words "late talker", 'non verbal", "speech delay or delayed speech", but unless they know the disorder called apraxia, they will not search under "apraxia" on the internet.   Even worse, apraxia also goes by a bunch of other names that are used interchangeably like dyspraxia, DAS, motor planning disorder, etc.  Besides, the words “neurologically based” can be misleading to parents, most children with apraxia are above average intelligence, and parents may not believe that their non-verbal child who is “SO” intelligent can have a condition that may be neurologically based.  In fact, nobody knows for sure where apraxia comes from.  Hopefully as awareness is raised, more research will be done to find out more about this frustrating and confusing condition called apraxia.

My husband Glenn and I are advocates for Early Intervention for a strong reason.  Our oldest son, the one with all the birth trauma, is now mainstreamed, going on to first grade, and is an excellent student with tons of friends.  You would never know he ever was in any type of therapy at all, especially if you saw him as one of the “Lollipop Guild” in a recent school play production of the “Wizard of OZ."   Glenn and I both work from home to provide as much support as possible to our children, right now especially Tanner.

Of course there are other factors besides the age of identification when making a prognosis of an apraxic child's future success at communicating verbally,  such as severity of the apraxia, frequency and appropriateness of therapy, attention level of the child, parental involvement, etc

Speech Therapy Matrix
Seek private evaluations from an ASHA certified SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) as well as medical evaluations from a neurologist and a developmental pediatrician who are knowledgeable about apraxia as well as other disorders.  Bring these evaluations to your child's school with the guideline at this link which is a guidelines for how much speech therapy a child should have in school. 
Speech Matrix

Mid Jersey Cares Early Intervention Collaborative
A partnership of parents and professionals and early intervention providers working together to ensure high quality early intervention.
Early Intervention

 

Send mail to Support with technical questions or comments about this web site. 
Copyright © 1998 
Last modified: Friday, June 03, 2005

To find your way around the CHERAB part of this site please click here for the index.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead, anthropologist

Send mail to Support with technical questions or comments about this web site. 
Copyright © 1998 
Last modified: Friday, June 03, 2005

To find your way around the CHERAB part of this site please click here for the index.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead, anthropologist