Apraxia is a disorder of the brain and nervous system in which a person is unable to perform tasks or movements when asked, even though:
Apraxia is caused by damage to the brain. When apraxia develops in a person who was previously able to perform the tasks or abilities, it is called acquired apraxia.
The most common causes of acquired apraxia are:
Apraxia may also be seen at birth. Symptoms appear as the child grows and develops. The cause is unknown.
Apraxia of speech is often present along with another speech disorder called aphasia. Depending on the cause of apraxia, a number of other brain or nervous system problems may be present.
A person with apraxia is unable to put together the correct muscle movements. At times, a completely different word or action is used than the one the person intended to speak or make. The person is often aware of the mistake.
Symptoms of apraxia of speech include:
Other forms of apraxia include:
Frustration, profanity, and depression are typical responses in persons with aphasia.
The following tests may be performed if the cause of the disorder is not known:
Standardized language and intellectual tests should be done if apraxia of speech is suspected. Testing for other learning disabilities may also be needed.
People with apraxia may benefit from treatment by a health care team. The team should also include family members.
Occupational and speech therapists may help both patients and their caregivers learn ways to deal with the apraxia. Because patients with apraxia have trouble following instructions, therapists who are experienced in treating this disorder may have better results.
Speech and language treatment may include:
Recognition and treatment of depression is important for people with severe speech and language disorders.
When speech apraxia is present:
Many people with apraxia are no longer able to be independent and may have trouble performing everyday tasks. Ask your health care provider which activities may or may not be safe. Avoid activities that may cause injury and take the proper safety measures.
Contact your doctor if someone has difficulty performing everyday tasks or has other symptoms of apraxia after a stroke or brain injury.
Reducing your risk of stroke and brain injury may help prevent conditions that lead to aphasia.
Verbal apraxia; Dyspraxia; Speech disorder - apraxia; Childhood apraxia of speech; Apraxia of speech; Acquired apraxia
Kirshner HS. Language and speech disorders: motor speech disorders: dysarthria and apraxia of speech. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 12B.
Kortte JH, Palmer JB. Speech and language disorders. In: Frontera, WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD Jr, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 145.
Updated by: Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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