What causes Childhood Apraxia of Speech?
Unfortunately, we don’t often know. We know that something interferes with messages accurately getting from the brain to the mouth muscles, but we don’t always know why that is. Childhood Apraxia of Speech may be caused by genetic changes – some of which we can identify and others which we don’t yet know. There have been over 30 single genes or ‘monogenic’ conditions shown to cause Childhood Apraxia of Speech (e.g., FOXP2-related speech and language disorder; CDK13-related disorder; SETBP1- haploinsufficiency disorder, (see https://www.geneticsofspeech.org.au). There are also chromosomal level disruptions that typically involve more than one gene which are also associated with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (e.g., 16p11.2 deletion; Koolen de Vries syndrome) (Eising et al., 2019; Hildebrand et al., 2020; Kaspi et al., 2022). Children with these conditions most commonly have other health, development, or cognitive difficulties. In a small number of cases, Childhood Apraxia of Speech may be caused by a problem breaking down the simple sugar galactose; a condition known as Galactoesaemia, although this condition is detected in the first months of life.
We don’t know exactly how many children have Childhood Apraxia of Speech, but we know it is rare. Only one or two children per 1000 enrolled in speech therapy are estimated to have it. Childhood Apraxia of Speech is the term most used today in Australia, the United States, Canada, and Europe but it is also known as Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (typically in the United Kingdom), Apraxia of Speech or Verbal Dyspraxia.
Learn more about our pharmaceutical trial for Childhood Apraxia of Speech.