Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia

Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia

What are these difficulties characterised by?

Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (DVD) is a rare type of Speech Sound Disorder. Children with DVD have difficulty planning and coordinating their muscle movements (e.g. lips, tongue, jaw) to produce speech, although they don’t necessarily have any actual weaknesses in those muscles. This can result in inaccurate speech sounds, words sounding different each time the child says them, and difficulties making their speech sound fluent and natural.

DVD is also known as ‘Childhood Apraxia of Speech’ in the USA and Australia. Some children with DVD may not speak a lot and appear to have few words when very young, because they are struggling to master speech production. Children with severe DVD may only be able to use a small number of speech sounds, e.g. only vowels (open mouth sounds like ‘ah’, ‘ee’, ‘uh’, ‘oo’), or rely heavily on the same sounds in all their words. Many find it difficult to copy words and sounds accurately, and some can look as though they are ‘searching’ for the right place to put their tongue when trying to say a word.

Children with milder DVD find it difficult to produce longer words accurately and with the right patterns of ‘stress’, so they can sound ‘robotic’, or as though they have a different accent. 

How does this impact the child?

Like children with other Speech Sound Disorders, a child with DVD may struggle to communicate what they want or think, because of their difficulties producing clear and consistent speech. The child may lose confidence in talking or become frustrated if they are often not understood.

Children with DVD often have additional difficulties, though these are not necessarily caused by or linked to their Speech Sound Disorder (e.g. Developmental Coordination Disorder/Dyspraxia; reading and writing difficulties; language difficulties; drooling and feeding difficulties)

How can ChatterBug support your child?

Our therapists will work directly with your child offering speech therapy sessions tailored to their needs incorporating elements of The Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme, or using Rapid Syllable Transition Training (ReST) in our therapy.

Children with DVD will require intense therapy input over longer periods of time due to the nature of their difficulties so we will work with key adults in school and home, training you to work with your child between sessions.

Some children benefit from learning additional ways to communicate such as signing, communication books or high tech communication devices (known as AAC – alternative and augmentative communication). In this case, we can advise on different options available, and support you to introduce and use an AAC system which best helps your child.

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