Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia

Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (DVD) also known as Articulatory Dyspraxia and Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder that makes it difficult for children to speak (articulate speech sounds accurately / consistently /clearly).

Even though the word “developmental” is used, DVD is not a problem that children outgrow. A child with DVD will not learn speech sounds in typical order and will not make progress without treatment.

In order for speech to occur, messages need to go from your brain to your mouth. These messages tell the muscles how and when to move to make sounds. When a child has DVD, the messages do not get through correctly. The child might not be able to move their lips or tongue in the right ways, even though their muscles are not weak. Sometimes, the child might not be able to say much at all. Some children may also present with drooling (which can vary from mild to severe).

Children with the diagnosis of DVD generally have a good understanding of language and know what they want to say however, they have difficulty learning or carrying out the complex sequenced movements that are necessary for intelligible speech. In other words, a child with DVD knows what they want to say, the problem is not how the child thinks but how the brain tells the mouth muscles to move.

Signs and Symptoms

Not all children with DVD present the same. A child may show some or all of the signs below.

  • Tends to put the stress on the wrong syllable or word
  • Does not always say words the same way every time
  • Distorts or changes sounds; or
  • Can say shorter words more clearly than longer words

Children with DVD may have other problems, including:

  • Difficulty with fine motor skills
  • Delayed language
  • Problems with reading, spelling, and writing
  • Difficulty with gross motor skills such as learning to ride a bicycle

How can the Speech and Language Therapists, at Articulate, help my child?

  • Proven expertise. DVD is a complex and uncommon speech disorder which can get missed or misdiagnosed. Hulya Mehmet has been a specialist in treating complex speech disorders, including DVD, for almost twenty years, and has the expertise to identify, diagnose and treat DVD from other complex speech difficulties.
  • Specialist Intervention. Hulya has an incredible success rate of treating children with DVD.  Complex speech disorders are one of Hulya’s specialist areas. We work hard to ensure your child goes to school, confident and articulate with brilliant communication skills.
  • Proven Assessment. To test (and treat) for DVD, we use the highly researched and proven Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme. We will look at your child’s oral–motor skills, speech prosody (intonation, rate, volume etc.), and how they say different sounds. To test how your child says sounds we do a thorough assessment and analysis of motor movements of speech, furthermore we check your child’s language skills as we know this condition can affect literacy development and often coexists with dyslexia. We also take an overall look at their gross motor development too. You can rest assured we’ve got it all covered.
  • Life-changing Therapy.  We are proud of our track record. To date all children treated by Hulya with severe DVD whom were due to start Reception year at a Speech and Language Disorder Unit were able to start Reception year in mainstream school with the same level of speech development as their peers. In other words, they did not require an SLDU placement due to the effectiveness of the treatment received, from Hulya. Instead each child integrated into Reception class at mainstream school with no concerns raised about speech or literacy by their Reception teacher.
  • Little Learners. Many of the children we treat become ahead in their literacy skills. Why? Because Hulya (and the team) work hard to ensure each child receives treatment which not only results in normal speech production but also boosts their phonological awareness resulting in fantastic results in literacy (reading) development.

We’re on Your Team. We understand how tough it can be to find the right therapist and also get the right amount of therapy for your child. At Articulate, we provide what your child needs. We treat the child, in addition, as part of each session we also train the parent to do ‘therapy’. This empowers parents with the skills to support and develop their child’s speech, language and communication. Together we get better results, faster.