Children with developmental verbal dyspraxia have difficulty in making and co-ordinating the precise movements needed for the production of clear speech, without any evidence of damage to muscles or nerves. They have problems producing individual speech sounds and in sequencing sounds together in words. This results in their speech being unintelligible, even to family members.

The speech disorder is the main presentation, but children with developmental verbal dyspraxia may also have oro-motor dyspraxia. This affects their ability to make and co-ordinate the movements of the larynx, lips, tongue and palate and / or generalised dyspraxia which affects gross and fine body movements.

Speech and language therapists usually diagnose developmental verbal dyspraxia and refer to checklists of characteristics and symptoms. In addition to speech characteristics, checklists usually refer to frequently reported language, learning, clinical and motor characteristics. A paediatrician and/or an occupational therapist may also be involved in diagnosing this condition.