What is apraxia of speech?

Apraxia of Speech

Apraxia of speech

Apraxia of speech is a disorder that makes it hard to speak well. People who have it understand language. They know what they want to say. The muscles of the mouth and throat are strong enough to help them speak. But the brain isn't able to plan the order and timing needed for the muscles to move together to create speech that others can understand.

Apraxia of speech can be caused by many things, such as a stroke, a head injury, or a brain tumor. Some children are born with it (childhood apraxia of speech). Speech therapy can help improve speech.

What are the symptoms of apraxia of speech?

If you have apraxia of speech, you may:

  • Speak slowly.
  • Often pause or struggle to say something.
  • Be able to say only a few words clearly.
  • Be able to make single sounds, but not be able to put them together into longer words or phrases.
  • Sometimes say the wrong sound in a word, leave out some sounds, or make sounds in the wrong order.
  • Be able to say a word or phrase in some situations, but not in others.

How is apraxia of speech treated?

Your doctor or speech-language pathologist may help improve apraxia of speech by giving you:

  • Methods to help make your speech clearer.
  • Strategies to help you communicate better.
  • A computer or other device, if needed, to help you communicate.

You may need frequent speech therapy sessions. Your health care team will help you decide on the best schedule for treatment.

How is apraxia of speech diagnosed?

To diagnose apraxia of speech, your doctor will do a physical exam and ask questions about your past health. You may have an imaging test such as an MRI. This can help the doctor find out what might be causing your speech problem. You may be referred to a speech-language pathologist (SLP).

How can you care for yourself when you have apraxia of speech?

This condition can be frustrating. Try to be patient with yourself. Give yourself time to get the words out. Be patient with others. If they have trouble understanding you, try again. Try other methods to help listeners understand you. For example, try using apps for your phone or tablet.

What causes apraxia of speech?

Apraxia of speech can be caused by several things. These include a stroke, an injury to the head, a brain tumor, or a disease of the nervous system. Sometimes it's caused by a condition that gets worse over time. In that case, the apraxia of speech may get worse too.

What is apraxia of speech?

Apraxia of speech makes it hard to speak well. People who have it understand language and know what they want to say. Their mouth and throat muscles are strong enough. But the brain can't plan the order and timing needed for those muscles to move together to create speech that's clear or correct.

What other speech disorders can occur with apraxia of speech?

A person with apraxia of speech may also have aphasia (say "a-FAY-zha") or dysarthria (say "dis-AR-three-uh").

People who have aphasia may not be able to read, write, or express their thoughts in words. Or they may not understand written or spoken words. Aphasia usually is caused by damage to the brain, such as by a stroke.

People who have dysarthria can't speak well. They understand language. And they usually don't have trouble reading and writing. But the nerves that control the lips, jaw, tongue, and soft palate have been affected. So the person's speech is often slurred and hard to understand.

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