Apraxia of speech is a rare type of speech disorder also called dyspraxia. If it is noticed on time, it can be diagnosed by a speech language therapist. So What exactly this disorder is? What are the early signs or symptoms? Let’s move on and read more about the apraxia of speech in adults and children!

Before to continue, I would like to highlight that, the apraxia of speech disorder a quite common and faced by a number of children in their childhood. It is common under age 3, but if your child age is more than 3 and he/she is unable to pronounce a word correctly or unable to move lips or tongue in the right way to say a word or sound, then this a is red signal and you should consult to a speech therapist for treatment.

So the thing is many people or agent might fool you in the name of apraxia, but you should use your brain and take action only if the age of person  is more than 3 years…

  1. If child age is under 3 and not speaking properly or unable to move lips or tongue then worry not Don’t consult.
  2. If child age is above 3 and not speaking properly or unable to move lips or tongue then Go get the consultancy now.

Being a parent if you notice early signs then by consulting an experienced therapist in your local area, you can help your child to overcome the apraxia problem and later your child will speak accurate word without any issue.

What is Apraxia?

As per Leanne Sherred who is speech-language pathologist and the President and Chief Clinical Officer at Expressable, Apraxia of speech is a motor planning disorder in which a person has the language capacity to talk, but the signals between their brain and mouth muscles aren’t sent correctly.

This can create a lot of frustration as a seemingly simple task that most of us do every day speaking clearly can be very challenging for people with apraxia.

Apraxia can be something a person is born with, called childhood apraxia of speech or CAS for short.

Apraxia can also happen later in life after an event like a stroke, traumatic brain injury, tumor, or progressive disease. This is called acquired apraxia of speech.

Childhood apraxia of speech is estimated to occur in about 0.1%–0.2% in 1,000 children, but there isn’t much reliable information about the prevalence of acquired apraxia because it can be difficult to distinguish apraxia among other motor difficulties in people who have several diagnoses.

Most common celebrities with apraxia of speech are: Emily Blunt, Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar, Elvis Presley, Bruce Willis, Marilyn Monroe , Drew Lynch, Ronda Rousey, and Carly Fleischmann.

Common Symptoms / Early Signs of Apraxia of Speech

Symptoms of apraxia can look similar to other speech-related disorders.

One study completed in 2013 found that about 6.9% of all motor speech disorders treated at the Mayo Clinic involved an apraxia diagnosis. However, apraxia wasn’t necessarily the only diagnosis.

Apraxia of speech can affect many aspects of a person’s life. Communication is a vital skill for everyone. Not only does it enable us to convey our thoughts and needs, but it’s how we connect and form relationships with others.

Fortunately effective speech therapy treatment is available for apraxia.

However, a speech therapist isn’t always able to predict how much progress a person will make. As the symptoms of apraxia can differ from person to person, so do each person’s treatment goals, progress, and results.

To get a better understanding of apraxia, let’s take a look at some of its main characteristics.

#1. Inconsistent errors in speech

A person with apraxia may pronounce the same word differently each time they say it. For example, one day they may say a difficult word correctly. Soon after they may have trouble repeating it.

#2. Distorted Sounds

People with apraxia may distort their sounds. Because their mouth muscles aren’t moving in the right way, sounds often come out incorrectly. Pronouncing vowels can be especially difficult, as well as longer and more complex words.

#3. Grouping for Sounds

Another characteristic of apraxia is groping for sounds. When trying to say words, people can appear like they’re groping and making odd movements with their mouth. They may try saying a word several times before they say it correctly.

#4. Intonation and rhythm of speech

People with apraxia may struggle with the intonation and rhythm of speech. They may speak in a monotone, omit syllables and words and phrases, or pause inappropriately while speaking.

#5. Difficulty initiating speech movements

Apraxia may also cause difficulty with volitional movements. A person with apraxia may have a tough  time initiating what they want to say, such as asking a question or making a comment.

Automatic speech may be easier, such as counting or saying the alphabet.

For example, if a person with apraxia is asked “What’s your name?” they may be able to reply easily, since this is a question they’ve been answering their whole life. But if you ask them to repeat their name after you, that might be more challenging.

#6. Moving mouth for non-speech tasks

Finally, people with apraxia may have an easier time moving their mouth for non-speech tasks. For example, someone with apraxia may be able to touch their tongue to their top lip.

However, the tongue elevation needed in certain speech sounds may be difficult.

Apraxia of Speech Treatment

Diagnosing apraxia of speech requires a comprehensive evaluation by a speech-language pathologist. So here’s how this disorder is treated and how a speech therapist helps to diagnose it!

#1. Evalutaion

The speech-language pathologist will gather a case history by interviewing the patient and family members. They will ask about the onset and progression of speech difficulties, medical history, medications and other conditions that could be contributing to speech problems.

Understanding the case history provides context for making an accurate apraxia diagnosis.

#2. Ask Questions

After evaluation, a test session will be conducted where the therapist will examine the patient current conditions.

The speech-language pathologist will evaluate conversational speech, have the patient name pictures, read words, repeat words and produce speech upon command.

This testing reveals the key markers of apraxia of speech. These include inconsistent speech errors, difficulty starting speech movements, groping oral movements and segmentation of syllables.

The testing also identifies if speech is more impaired for automatic speech, like counting, versus volitional speech.

#3. Rule out potential causes of disordered speech

The speech-language pathologist will evaluate oral motor strength and coordination by having the patient perform tasks like sticking out their tongue, blowing and swallowing. They will test language skills by assessing vocabulary, sentence formation, reading comprehension and auditory comprehension.

This helps determine if language disorder is contributing to speech impairment versus just apraxia affecting motor planning and programming of speech movements.

#4. Brain Scans

As this disorder is linked with brain nerves so some scans are required which help to provide additional information.

Imaging like MRI and CT scans can detect brain lesions that may be causing the apraxia. Transnasal endoscopy involves passing a fiberoptic scope through the nasal cavity to visualize structures involved in speech.

This can identify abnormalities not apparent through clinical testing. Ultrasound and videofluoroscopy provide dynamic images of the tongue and lip muscles during speech. Measuring tongue and mouth pressures and studying speech acoustics are other instrumental approaches.

#5. Treatment Begins

Once everything is done, the treatment process begins and a speech therapist follows the below given methods and techniques to improve their speech abilities.

  • Articulation Practice: The goal of this technique is to produce speech sounds more accurately. With the help of the SLP, the person can practice pronouncing words, syllables, or speech sounds that they find challenging. Improving articulation and clarity is the aim. We recommend Cecil G. Gordon book where 100 activities mentioned that help to improve speech articulation.
  • Sound Sequencing: Proper word and phrase construction is a common source of difficulty for people with apraxia. Exercises designed to help a person learn and master the proper speech sound order may be a part of speech therapy.
  • Oral-Motor Exercises: These exercises target the lips, tongue, and jaw muscles that are used in speech production. Enhancing the strength of these muscles can help with speaking clarity and coordination.
  • Motor Planning and Execution: Therapy frequently concentrates on enhancing the speech motions’ motor planning and execution. This entails training the person to organize and synchronize the precise motions needed to speak.
  • Intensive Drills: Speech therapy for apraxia frequently includes both repetitive and intense drills. These exercises support proper speech patterns and aid in motor acquisition.
  • Cueing Techniques: People with apraxia can benefit from the use of tactile and visual cues to help them produce speech sounds. These cues, which direct proper speech output, can be gestures, images, or tactile cues.
  • Training in Phonological Awareness: Activities that improve apraxia sufferers’ comprehension of language and phonological patterns can be beneficial. These activities help enhance your ability to recognize and sequence sounds.

I hope now you got an idea about what apraxia is? We have shared everything in detail so you can find the early signs. If the situation is bit weird then you can consult with an experienced speech language therapist in your area or you can go online and look for the professional therapists to get the consultancy at cheaper rate.

We have also provided the sources of books which you can read to know more about the apraxia meaning and how it can be treated at home for free. Additionally, you can check out the videos where the experts shared what is this disorder and it can be diagnosed so the patient speak fluently without error.

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