Dyspraxia: When Speech is Delayed

Some babies and toddlers have trouble learning to talk. They could have hearing deficits, neurological disorders, insufficient environmental stimulation, physical impairment, mental challenges or oral motor dysfunction. Often these speech and language issues are referred to as “dyspraxia,” or “apraxia,” say the experts at Newport Children’s Medical Group (NCMG) in Orange County, Calif.

Dyspraxia affects about 5 percent of children, primarily boys. Half of dyspraxia children show emotional or behavioral issues, but many others blend in. They may have “normal” intelligence and language comprehension or above-normal intelligence. Their deficits are virtually invisible until they have to try something new or when their skill set is exposed to a new environment or a new routine.

If your baby makes very few sounds, fails to try to imitate words, or misses development milestones, schedule an appointment to see one of the pediatricians at NCMG. Your baby will be given a thorough exam to look for physical impairment and for cognitive delays. If language deficits are noted, underlying contributing factors will be addressed, and speech therapy most likely will be prescribed.

Signs of Oral Dyspraxia

  • Trouble breastfeeding (“latching on”)
  • Refusal to eat lumpy or textured food
  • Excessive drooling
  • Limited babbling or progression of speech sounds
  • Failure to mimic facial expressions
  • Trouble using a sippy cup or straw
  • Unusual voice quality and pitch

“The earlier we can intervene in cases of dyspraxia the better,” says Dr. Zacharia Reda, who provides primary, pulmonary, and critical and intensive pediatric care at Newport Children’s Medical Group. “Research supports early intervention, and my colleagues at NCMG and I have seen how speech training and other therapies have made a world of difference in the lives of our young patients.”

We Offer Appointments 7 Days per Week, Including Holidays
Same Day Appointments for Acutely Ill Patients

To set up an appointment today, call:

  • Hoag Office: (949) 642-7332
  • Fashion Island: (949) 644-0970
  • Huntington Beach: (714) 698-1648; (714) 848-0023; or (714) 848-1136
  • Mission Viejo: (949) 364-8700

Newport Children’s Medical Group has been serving OC parents for 40 years. Appointments are offered 365 days a year and after hours. Acutely sick kids are guaranteed same-day access to a doctor.