Apraxia of speech is a neurological disorder that affects the way a person produces speech. It is caused by damage to the brain’s speech center, which results in difficulty planning and carrying out the sequence of movements necessary for speaking. Although those affected by the disorder have intact language and cognitive skills, they may have difficulty saying what they mean due to their inability to make the necessary movement patterns needed for speech.
Treatment for apraxia of speech includes individualized speech therapy and exercises to strengthen the muscles necessary for speech. Speech therapy may involve using drills, language games, and visual or verbal cues to help the individual practice their speech movements. Exercises are also used to strengthen the speech muscles, as well as to improve the individual’s overall coordination. With treatment, some individuals may experience improved speech and can eventually reach full recovery.
Common symptoms of apraxia of speech include slow and inaccurate speaking, pauses between words or syllables, and mispronounced words. Depending on the severity of the disorder, other symptoms may include difficulty with intonation, rhythm, and sound production. People with this disorder may also experience difficulty with facial movements necessary for speech, such as lip rounding, raising eyebrows, and moving the tongue.