Next Steps and Diagnosis

Contact your nearest Neuro Paediatrician or a Speech Therapist to first ascertain if the speech delay is a problem and might be an indication of Childhood Apraxia of speech.

If you contacted a speech therapist first, remember that only a Neuro Paediatrician can make an official diagnosis. The Speech Therapist will still refer you to the Neuro Paediatrician, as with most children suffering from Apraxia there are always other developmental problems such as low muscle tone, sensory integration issues or ADHD.

Intensive speech therapy is recommended, at least 2 -3 times per week. Your child might also need physiotherapy to address the low muscle tone at the onset of diagnosis but will need to switch over to Neurodevelopment therapy. Neurodevelopment therapy is critical to help your child with sensory integration problems which include fine motor skills and planning.

Speech therapy will be needed until your child is at least 8 or 9 years old, depending on how quick he or she was diagnosed and the degree of Apraxia/Dyspraxia they suffer from.

It is also advisable to speak to your child’s day care facility to inform them of your child’s condition. Unfortunately there are no early childhood day care facilities in South Africa except the pre-Grade R class at Tygerberg Hospital School in the Western Cape.

Your role as parent is critical as language needs to be taught and practised at home too. Apraxia will not go away or improve over time. Apraxic children need specialised help as mentioned above. Early intervention is key.

Small classes with a teacher and assistant are also needed when your child attends the foundation phase of schooling.