Developmental apraxia is a speech disorder in which the child struggles to sequence and say sounds, syllables, words and even sentences. The brain struggles to send signals to the articulators (lips, tongue, jaw) for the movements necessary for speech production. The child is well aware of what they want to say, but are unable to sequence the movements necessary to express themselves.
Parents will most often be puzzled by the fact that their child understands everything and yet cannot talk at the level at which they appear to understand. They also will often report that their child did not babble or jargon much as a baby. Some will say the babbling or jargon is limited in sounds. The child often struggles to develop an emerging vocabulary for expressing themselves. Words are often missing sounds and the child may use easy to produce sounds to replace harder to produce sounds. Speech errors are often inconsistent. Children with apraxia of speech have difficulty imitating speech and parents report groping for sounds. These children often produce shorter words with greater ease than longer words, phrases or sentences. Children with more severe forms of apraxia may also have oral apraxia, which includes difficulty with feeding.