What are the Signs of CAS?

There are many different signs and not all children will have the same ones. The signs can also change as a child gets older or the severity of the condition changes.

Young children with CAS may:

  • have difficulty feeding
  • coo, babble or play with sounds less than other children
  • use a limited range of sounds when they do begin to talk
  • find it easier to understand others than talk themselves
  • visibly struggle to talk, groping or searching for sounds
  • be very hard to understand even to people close to them (i.e. family members).

Older children with CAS may:

  • struggle with longer words or phrases
  • drop or add sounds to words (e.g., ‘copa’ for ‘helicopter’; ‘umbararella’ for ‘umbrella’)
  • say the same word in a number of different ways (e.g., ‘caterpila’, ‘catiperla’, ‘cratapila’ for ‘caterpillar’)
  • stress the wrong part of a word or sentence making their speech ‘robotic’ or ‘accented’.

Children with CAS are more likely to have language, reading and spelling difficulties. Some children are also better at understanding what is said to them (called receptive language skills) than talking themselves (called expressive language skills). Sometimes children with CAS will also have problems with small muscle movements (called fine motor skills) or large muscle movements (called gross motor skills). In some instances, children may also have more generalised learning difficulties.

Professional content written by Associate Professor Angela Morgan, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute University of Melbourne Australia