Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia: Top 10 Signs And Helpful Ways

Developmental verbal dyspraxia1 is a motor speech disorder2. In this, a child has difficulty in making correct movements while speaking. It is caused by the brain being unable to coordinate the planned movement of various parts.

It is prime to acknowledge the difference between developmental verbal dyspraxia (or childhood Apraxia of speech3) and other speech sound disorders.

speech impairement
ryan wallis

What Is Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia?

Verbal dyspraxia has other names like childhood Apraxia of speech and developmental Apraxia of speech.

Apraxia is a type of motor speech problem. It affects various neurological functions. Brain plan, coordinates, and sends signals to different parts and muscles. In dyspraxia, the brain does not send proper signals lacking coordinated movement. 4

The genuine cause of dyspraxia is unknown. Yet, it is followed FOXP2 genes play a dominant role in this. FOXP2 genes are responsible for various language disorders. These genes direct in production of forkhead a protein that controls the working of other genes. This FOXP2 gene is in charge of elocution and movement that is necessary for a child’s speech.

Dyspraxia differs from other speech impairments (in which muscles are weak) whereas, in dyspraxia, the problem resides in the brain and its signal sending ability. The brain is unable in signals sending still does not affect intellect. Your child’s intelligence is intact. Other than the FOXP2 gene, any traumatic brain injury or trauma, in general, can also cause developmental verbal dyspraxia.

How Various Parts Attached To The Brain And Work?

Vocalization is a process that is possible because of coordinated motor movement by the brain. The brain synchronizes the movement of lips, mouth, tongue together for correct speech.

childhood apraxia

Lips are prime for speech. It is a part of the oral mechanism that makes elocution possible. The desired movement of lips is requisite for correct articulation.

Tongue movement guides the production of sounds and words, thus speech production. Helpful in producing consonant and vowel sounds. The roof of our mouth is also known as the palate. Our tongue touches this hard palate to make speech sounds like sh, ch.

Signs Of Dyspraxia

Signs of dyspraxia are often mistaken for other speech disorders. In dyspraxia, words are unrecognizable, while in other speech disorders,5 the child substitutes the wrong sound, like pronouncing ‘pump’ as ‘fump.’

Following signs can appear:

1 During initial growing years if the child’s speech appears late or the child has delayed speaking the first words.

2. Having difficulty in speaking complex words or longer words with many syllables like ‘addition.’

3. Constantly dropping specific consonants and vowels from words.

4. Pronouncing the same word differently every time like pronouncing hello as “yell, aall”. 

5. Making different sounds every time for the same consonants or vowels.

6. Not able to speak certain vowels or consonants.

7. Unable to complete words or stuck at different words.

8. Elocution with wrongly stressed syllables with flat intonation.

9. Constant efforts in producing words therefore difficulty in children to produce speech.

10. Difficult to join different speech sounds to make words.

How Therapist Can Help You

A therapist can guide you through various other speech impairments that can be confused with developmental verbal dyspraxia.

It is not like any other speech problem. It needs a specialist to help many children in improving conditions. Severity may differ in different children’s speech.

A speech therapist or speech language pathologist can help to diagnose an underlining problem. Speech problems like dyspraxia need speech specialists.

The therapist Generally checks the working of oral mechanisms such as lips, jaw, and mouth. A complete oral diagnose includes the movement of different parts in general while eating and speaking.

speech therapist

A speech therapist gives constant speech practice. It involves motor learning that helps in acquiring particular motor skills by doing it or practicing. Sensory cueing is another method that necessitates giving hints to children to inculcate the production of words as a habitual action.

A speech therapist needs:

  1. A session with a child of at least 30 minutes is required to observe development.
  2. No less than 4 sessions in a week with the therapist are mandatory.
  3. Your therapist may work on AAC (Augmented and alternative communication). It is for speech impairment.
  4. Unaided AAC means the use of signs and facial expressions.
  5. Sign language or showing pictures that may help in developing speech, this method is known as the multi-sensory approach. The multi-sensory approach benefits in the development of various senses at a time.

Other Issues Connected With Dyspraxia

Sometimes a child with developmental verbal dyspraxia struggles with other things also. Such as:

  • Late speech development means fewer words known can notice difficulty in speaking and writing.
  • As the brain signal pathway is hindered, one can see less motor and skill development.
  • The child attempt movements of lips and mouth for articulation.
  • Coordination can also be a problem. The child may dislike a few basic daily activities like brushing teeth, tying shoelaces.

As A Parent, Here’s What Can You Do

Parents play a pivotal role. You have to convince yourself that you can deal with this. Together as a family, you can swim through this.

  • First of all, if you have any doubt about developmental verbal dyspraxia, gather as much information as you can.
  • After this is to look for a speech therapist who can help you out.
  • Following recommendations by a speech pathologist.
  • Practicing activities and exercises at home as well.
  • Be consistent with speech therapy. Follow what the therapist says.
  •  The most important is to appreciate the small achievements of your child.
  • Few activities you can do at home as well. Constant practice of words repetition of words.
  • Use various sounds of animals in stories.
childhood apraxia
lucas alenxander

Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia – An Overview on the Subject

Developmental verbal dyspraxia appears because of malfunctioning of signal sending. Difficulty coordinating motor skills this type of speech impairment occurs.

It requires speech pathologist guidance to improve the condition. It differs from other speech impairments. In many other speech impairments, muscles are weak or paralyzed. Here problem resides in the brain and not with the working of muscles.

Persistent exercises and speech therapy can help in improving the condition. It is salient to understand that verbal dyspraxia needs the help of a speech pathologist. Improvement can be seen only with continuous practice sessions by the speech pathologist.

Infographic That Explains Artificial Intelligence Helping People With Speech Disorders
Icy Health

Eventually, parents’ support is like an anchor. Your presence helps your child to get through this.

To enjoy and read more articles, click here.


1. What are the general difficulties (summarized) faced by people with developmental verbal dyspraxia?

From inconsistent speech sound errors, speech sound disorder, communication disorders, difficulty in speech production and language development, having a very limited vocabulary, muscle weakness, making inconsistent errors, having trouble learning, delayed language, difficulty getting the hang of specific sounds and longer words, long pauses, to other communication disorders, Dyspraxia’s effects differ from other speech impairments.

2. Is Dyspraxia a genetic disorder?

So far, Dyspraxia isn’t known to ‘run’ in families.

Suggested reading:

Importance of Acknowledgement in Relationships

Edited by Pooja Motwani

  1. Stackhouse, Joy. “Developmental verbal dyspraxia I: A review and critique.” European Journal of Disorders of Communication 27.1 (1992): 19-34. ↩︎
  2. Maas, Edwin, et al. “Principles of motor learning in treatment of motor speech disorders.” (2008). ↩︎
  3. Ogar, Jennifer, et al. “Apraxia of speech: an overview.” Neurocase 11.6 (2005): 427-432. ↩︎
  4. Baik, Ja-Hyun, et al. “Parkinsonian-like locomotor impairment in mice lacking dopamine D2 receptors.” Nature 377.6548 (1995): 424-428. ↩︎
  5. Fox, Annette V., Barbara Dodd, and David Howard. “Risk factors for speech disorders in children.” International journal of Language & Communication disorders 37.2 (2002): 117-131. ↩︎

Last Updated on by ayeshayusuf



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *