Is there a difference between Dyspraxia and Apraxia?

Why do some people call it verbal dyspraxia and others refer to it as speech apraxia?  Is there a difference between the two?

When a child has difficulty pronouncing words, then you may hear speech or language pathologists and development paediatricians refer to the condition as:  Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) as well as Verbal Dyspraxia.

Research indicates that the American Speech Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) prefers that speech-language-pathologists (SLP’s) refers to this speech conditions as CAS (Childhood Apraxia of Speech),but other types of health professionals may be more likely to use the term verbal dyspraxia, and the reason for this is because it’s mentioned in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-5).  

The DSM-5 lists verbal dyspraxia as another name for speech sound disorders.

Children diagnosed with verbal dyspraxia may have difficulty with the speed, accuracy and timing of movement sequences that are required to produce speech and for this reason the verbal dyspraxia will lead to speech development delays. 

So whilst “verbal dyspraxia” is a speech disorder that can start to show when a child is learning to speak – verbal dyspraxia can be referred to as:

  • Dyspraxia
  • Development Verbal Dyspraxia (DVD)
  • Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)
  • Developmental apraxia of speech

So basically a child with verbal dyspraxia has difficulty planning and coordinating their movement of muscles used (e.g. tongue, lips, jaw, palate) to produce the right speech sounds or words.

Ilse Kilian-Ross

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 - 6 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.