What is Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia? 

DVD is a term used to describe those children who have a severe speech disorder.

According to the RCSLT (2006), DVD can be detected in early infancy with;

  •  Difficulty with feeding
  • Delay in early speech skills
  • Difficulty in producing speech
  • Reduced intelligibility

It is common where children are diagnosed with Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia that there is a family history of speech and language difficulties.

DVD occurs when messages from the brain to the muscles for speech get disrupted. There is no actual damage to the nerves or muscles used for speech but the child cannot voluntarily move the muscles to make the right speech sounds. This means that the child’s speech is difficult to understand.

Children with DVD may be able to say words or phrases spontaneously (automatic speech) but have greater difficulty in saying words or phrases when requested to repeat (voluntary speech).

When asked to make non speech movements (such as blowing a kiss, moving their tongue), children with DVD also have trouble in doing so (oral dyspraxia). A child with DVD does not produce speech sounds consistently in the same way and the errors they make are unpredictable.
The main speech characteristics associated with DVD include:

  •  Delayed development of early speech skills (e.g. babbling)
  • A limited range of consonant and vowel speech sounds.
  • Inconsistent productions of the same target (e.g. ‘cat’ may be pronounced differently each time ‘gat’ or ‘lat’)
  • Overuse of the one sound
  • Incorrect production of vowel sounds.
  • Difficulty in putting syllables together to make words (particulary longer ones). Errors are inconsistent and unpredictable.
  • Your child may be difficult to understand.
  • Resonance difficulties affecting the tone of the voice
  • Voice difficulties affecting quality, volume, length and pitch
  • May speak too slow or too fast

DVD can result in literacy difficulties in school, affecting reading, spelling and writing. Children with DVD may also progress at a slower rate than children with other speech and language difficulties.

How Caint Speech Therapy can help:

Caint speech therapists will provide a detailed assessment of your child speech and language skills.

  • Therapy will address your child’s level of awareness and knowledge that the sounds he/she makes can change word meaning.
  • Caint will advice you on the best Evidence Based Treatment option for DVD and develop a treatment plan tailored to your child’s needs.
  • Therapy for DVD requires a lot of repetition to teach basic placements and movements required in speech and sound production. The child will be taught how to co-ordinate these speech movements at all levels right through from single sounds to phrases and sentences so that these movements may become automatic and easy for your child to make.
  • Therapy will be tailored to meet your child’s specific needs.
  • As your child gets older, he/she may present with different needs.
    • Caint aim to provide continual re-evaluation of your child’s specific difficulties and to ensure the treatment plan is up to date to his/her current ability.
    •  As DVD is a condition that will require long term SLT intervention, Caint will support your child by working with you as a parent/caregiver, family member, teacher and school to ensure the child gets the best treatment input while at home or in school.
    • We will also provide appropriate support and liaise with the school as appropriate if reading, writing and spelling is also affected.