What determines severity of CAS?

The severity of the deficit in motor planning determines the severity level of CAS. Severity is usually described three categories: mild, moderate or severe. The number of sounds or words a child has does not determine severity, as this changes over time and often with age. Rather, the child’s response to multisensory cueing (such as tactile/touch, visual and auditory cues) in treatment determines the level of severity. This is important as young children may appear severe due to a lack of sounds and words, but they may respond very well to cueing in therapy, indicating that their deficit is moderate or even mild.

For any severity level, the deficit in motor planning often becomes less severe with appropriate treatment such that children can progress to milder forms of CAS or even “recover.” Some children and young adults are labeled as having residual CAS, which refers to very mild difficulties with motor planning that persist even after treatment. These difficulties may or may not be obvious in the individual’s normal speech. For example, a person with residual CAS may have difficulty saying longer (multisyllabic) words that they haven’t practiced.

It is also important to note that when a child has CAS and another developmental disorder (such as Down Syndrome) the rate of progress may be slower even with effective treatment and the child may not achieve the same long-term outcome as a child with only CAS.

See Examples of Children with Mild, Moderate and Severe CAS

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Determining the Right Treatment for Your Child

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Treatment Depends on Severity

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