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Updated: Jul 6, 2020

What Is Apraxia

Apraxia is a speech disorder in which a person has trouble saying what he or she wants to say correctly or consistently. Many children are able to hear words, and are able to understand what they mean, but they can’t change what they hear into the fine-motor skill of combining consonants and vowels to form words. The severity of apraxia of speech can range from mild to severe.

Are there different types of apraxia of speech?

There are two forms of apraxia of speech, acquired apraxia and developmental apraxia.

Acquired apraxia can occur in people of all ages. Typically, though, it is found in adults. This condition causes people to lose the speech-making abilities they once possessed.

Developmental apraxia of speech is also known as childhood apraxia of speech. This condition is present from birth, and it affects a child’s ability to form sounds and words. Children with developmental apraxia often have far greater abilities to understand speech than to express themselves with spoken words. The majority of children with developmental apraxia will experience significant improvement, if not complete recovery, with the correct treatment.

Developmental apraxia

What are the symptoms of apraxia of speech?

There are a variety of speech-related symptoms that may be associated with apraxia, including:

  • Difficulty stringing syllables together in the appropriate order to make words, and/or inability to do so.

  • Minimal babbling during infancy

  • Difficulty saying long or complex words

  • Repeated attempts at pronunciation of words

  • Speech inconsistencies, such as being able to say a sound or word properly at certain times but not others

  • Incorrect inflections or stresses on certain sounds or words

  • Excessive use of nonverbal forms of communication

  • Distorting of vowel sounds

  • Omitting consonants at the beginnings and ends of words

  • Seeming to grope or struggle to make words

Childhood apraxia of speech rarely occurs alone. It is often accompanied by other language or cognitive deficits, which may cause:

  • Limited vocabulary

  • Grammatical problems

  • Problems with coordination and fine motor skills

  • Difficulties chewing and swallowing

  • Clumsiness

  • Reading and/or writing problems

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