Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the complex array of functional problems in children diagnosed by their treating speech/language pathologist with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), a poorly understood, severe speech sound disorder.
Method: We asked parents (n = 201) attending the first national parent conference on CAS to voluntarily complete a survey, which evaluated 43 functional domains from the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health-Children and Youth version (ICF-CY). The survey also included questions about co-existing medical, developmental, and mental health conditions and about service utilization. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and exploratory factor analysis.
Results: The most prevalent functional problems in addition to communication were attention (focus), vestibular function, temperament, fine hand use, maintaining attention, and learning to write. Four orthogonal factors accounted for 23% of the variance in functional problems: Cognitive and Learning Problems, Social Communication Difficulties, Behavioral Dysregulation, and Other Oral Motor Problems. Over half the sample had health, mental health, and developmental conditions. Almost all of the children used early intervention and speech/language therapy services.
Conclusions: The ICF-CY provided a systematic approach for describing and categorizing functional problems in children with CAS. The identified factors should guide the multidisciplinary team in conducting comprehensive evaluations, rehabilitation, and long-term follow-up of children with CAS.