Phonological awareness and early reading development in children with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)
Background: Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is associated with phonological awareness, reading, and spelling deficits. Comparing literacy skills in CAS with other developmental speech disorders is critical for understanding the complexity of the disorder. Aims: This study compared the phonological awareness and reading development of children with CAS and children with inconsistent speech disorder (ISD). Method & Procedures: Participants included twelve children with CAS aged 4–7 years. Their performance was compared with twelve children with ISD (and normal speech motor planning) and twelve children with typical development on tasks measuring phonological awareness, letter–sound knowledge, real and non-word decoding, and access to underlying phonological representations of words. There was no significant difference in the age, gender, socio-economic status, and receptive vocabulary of the groups. The two groups with speech disorder were matched for severity and inconsistency of their speech impairment. Outcomes & Results: The results indicated that the CAS group had inferior phonological awareness than the ISD and typical development groups. The CAS group had a greater proportion of participants performing below their expected age level than the comparison groups on phonological awareness, letter–sound knowledge and decoding tasks. There was no difference in the performance of the CAS and ISD groups on the phonological representation task. Conclusions & Implications: Children with CAS are particularly susceptible to phonological awareness and reading delay. Intervention for children with CAS must facilitate skills underlying reading development in addition to resolving speech deficits in order to improve the spoke and written language outcomes of this population.