What is apraxia of speech?

The concept of apraxia of speech refers to a neurological disorder that affects the coordination, programming, and accuracy of sequential movements needed to produce speech sounds. (1)

Note: Apraxia of speech manifests itself in the motor planning of speech, and falls within the categorization of speech problemsin the child or adult.

This disorder occurs because the speed at which thebraincreates the ideas to be expressed, does not coincide with the ability of the phonoarticulator apparatusto reproduce sounds to produce speech correctly.

In other words, in patients with apraxia of speech the phonoarticulator apparatus is unable to perform a sequential chain of movements, to produce sounds quickly and construct words.

Why does apraxia of speech occur?

This condition has causes associated with theCentral Nervous System (CNS), which we mention below:

1. Brain injuries or conditions

Apraxia of speech in adults can be caused by injuries or conditions that occur in the brain that damage areas responsible for controlling the muscles of the speech-articulation apparatus, such as a tumor, a stroke , among others.

Important: Apraxia of speech and dysarthria are different terms, as the latter refers to weakness in the muscles that function to reproduce sounds, but both disorders can occur together.

2. Nervous system and language disorders

Another cause of this condition in adults is the suffering of major lesions in the CNS such as dysarthria or another such as aphasia (2) , which directly affect language function.

To highlight: Childhood apraxia of speech differs from aphasia, because the latter occurs due to Obvious Neurological Damageto the brain.

3. Genetic factors

In the case of children with apraxia of speech, this manifests from birth and despite the fact that no clinical evidence of any neurological failure has been found, it has been attributed that in their medical history they have family members with a history of a communication disorder or a Learning problem .

What are the symptoms of apraxia of speech?

The symptoms of this speech disorder are very specific, but they are often confused with other speech conditions. Here we describe the more specific symptoms:

1. Problems pronouncing words correctly

The first symptom that characterizes this disorder is that there is an evident difficulty in correctly articulating words, due to failures in communication between the brain and the phonoarticular apparatus.

You should know: Apraxia of speech must be differentiated from palilalia , Echolalia , echopraxia , Coprolalia and logoclonia , because the rest occur involuntarilyand outside ofthe patient’sconscious awareness .

2. Inconsistency in speech

Another indication of suffering from this disorder is the continuous interruption of the patient in speech gestures , and it can be attributed to the fact that the patient is looking for how to correctly generate the sound or trying to express a complicated word that he cannot articulate.

3. Difficulty moving from one sound to another

At this point, patients with apraxia, whether in childhood or in adulthood, phonetically confuse the vowels with the consonants, producing a distortion of the sound.

Note: That is why, auditorily, continuity is perceived in the speech of these people, with no separation between words or syllables.

4. Errors in the rhythm, stress and intonation of words

In apraxia of speech there is difficulty for prosody, people cannot put emphasis on stress and vocally they cannot divide sentences into words.

To highlight: In general , the intonation, rhythm and inflection of their expressions are perceived as monotonous.


How to cure apraxia of speech?

Apraxia of speech, depending on its complexity , has a series of strategies for its intervention, which we mention below:

1. Speech and language therapy

Commonly, apraxia of speech is treated through speech and language therapy , after having made a differential diagnosis based on the symptoms and medical history of the patient.

Important: If you notice that your child has problems expressing himself verbally, it is advisable to seek the help of a speech and language professional such as a speech therapist or phoniatrist early.

2. Physical therapy and occupational therapy

Another strategy that can help with the treatment of apraxia of speech is physiotherapy and occupational therapy, dedicated to applying techniques to correct deficiencies in the phonoarticular apparatus.

3. Methods of assistance for communication

In those severe cases of apraxia of speech, it is advisable to go to people specialized in the area of communication, to guide on other alternatives that can facilitate communication with other people.

In this context,can be used as alternatives ., a notebook with images and words or the use of technological and computer devices for communication

You should know: The speech specialist must have information about the patient, in order to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend theAppropriate Intervention Strategy.

Key Findings

  • Apraxia of speech is a neurological disorder that affects the mechanisms that produce speech sounds.
  • Apraxia of speech is categorized as speech problems .
  • In the patient with this condition, his speech apparatus is unable to articulate soundsquickly and construct words.
  • The patient with apraxia of speech can improve his condition through speech therapy, physical therapy and communication assistance methods.

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