SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – The Speech Production Research Lab at Syracuse University is looking to enhance therapy for a rare speech disorder in children through a new study.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder that makes it difficult to speak. It’s often misunderstood and can sometimes take a while to be diagnosed. However, experts are trying to change that.

The Speech Production Research Lab is looking for Central New York children ages 3 to 7 years old who fit the following criteria:

  • Have or are suspected of having Childhood Apraxia of Speech
  • Have normal/adjusted-normal vision and hearing
  • Speak English as their first language
  • Have no other developmental problems (e.g., autism, global developmental delay)
  • Have no oral or facial structural issues (e.g., no cleft palate)

The study researches if Dynamic Therapy, also called Dynamic Temporal and Tactile Cueing or DTTC, is an effective treatment for children with CAS.

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of Childhood Apraxia of Speech include but are not limited to:

  • Delayed onset of first words
  • A limited number of spoken words
  • The ability to form only a few consonant or vowel sounds
  • Vowel and consonant distortions
  • Separation of syllables in or between words
  • Voicing errors, such as “pie” sounding like “bye”

Many children diagnosed with CAS have difficulty getting their jaws, lips, and tongues to the correct positions to make a sound, which may cause difficulty moving smoothly to the next sound.

Some children with CAS may have severe speech difficulties. This can have a lasting impact on their academic and literacy skills, social development, and even employment outcomes.

For Rayce Fluno (6), communicating hasn’t always been an easy task. In fact, he didn’t speak his first word until he was over 3-years-old. The reason why went unknown for years, according to his mother, Ariel.

“I think as a mom, you go back and forth, ‘is it something I did?’ ‘Is it dietary?’ ‘Could something have happened?’ You just wonder. Your brain goes through all of it trying to wonder what happened and why this is the way it is.”


However, after searching for answers, Rayce and his family finally got one. He was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech.

“It’s heartbreaking because you see your child struggling,” Fluno explained. “I think his dad and I really felt like he had this whole world trapped inside of his body he didn’t know how to get out or express, and I think it was painful for him and painful for us to watch and not know how to help him.”

As the first to participate in the study at the Syracuse University Speech Production Research Lab, Rayce is proof there’s some success with the treatments.

They did really, really well with him,” Fluno said. “We noticed a huge difference in Rayce’s speech working with them.”

What’s involved in the study?

  • A 15-minute phone interview
  • A speech pathology assessment which may take up to two 90-minute visits
  • If your child is randomly allocated to the Experimental treatment arm, they will receive eighteen (18) Dynamic Therapy treatment sessions conducted by a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist (up to 90 minutes per visit)
  • Collection of your child’s speech data from their regular Speech Pathologist
  • Three (3) extra assessment sessions – visits up to 60 minutes in length

“There’s not a lot of research on whether the treatment approach Dynamic Therapy is effective for children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech, so we wanted to see if children who get this therapy make improvements in their speech.”


Where will the study take place?

  • Initial evaluations and assessments every 6 weeks will take place at the research site
  • Treatment may take place at the research site or at your child’s home/daycare (if within 30 minutes of Syracuse University)

To partake in the study, it’s free of charge. To help with the costs of travel, families will be reimbursed for $5.00 each session attended through their enrollment.

The best part is when you hear from the families, how they’re able to incorporate it at home into their everyday life, like the words and phrases that you work on with them,” Caballero said.

If you’re interested in signing up for the Childhood Apraxia of Speech study at Syracuse University, click here for more information.

You can also email or call the Speech Production Research Lab at “” or (315) 443-1351.