What Teachers Should Know
Childhood apraxia of speech, sometimes called verbal dyspraxia, is a speech disorder in which the brain has trouble getting the tongue, lips, and jaw to move correctly for talking. Children with the disorder know what they want to say, but can't coordinate the muscle movements needed to make the sounds, syllables, and words. Apraxia symptoms can vary widely.
Children with apraxia also may have:
- other language delays
- sensitivity problems with their mouths, such as not liking to brush their teeth or eat crunchy foods
- problems with motor skills and coordination
- problems learning to read, write, and spell
Students with apraxia may:
- need assistive devices or alternative communication methods to help them in class
- need seating close to the front of the class
- feel anxious, nervous, or frustrated when it comes to speaking in class
- be at risk for bullying
- need accommodations for missed class time and assignments due to frequent speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy sessions
- benefit from having an individualized education plan (IEP) or 504 education plan
What Teachers Can Do
Apraxia can affect many aspects of a student's education and academic performance. It's important for teachers to work with speech-language pathologists and families to help ensure students get the proper support.
Keep your students with apraxia involved in classroom. Keep in mind that some also may have coordination problems. Give students extra time to do assignments and plenty of time to communicate their needs.
Because students with apraxia are at risk for bullying, just like many other students with special needs, try to create opportunities for collaboration and friendships with classmates.