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:
Verbal apraxia; Dyspraxia; Speech disorder - apraxia; Childhood apraxia of speech; Apraxia of speech; Acquired apraxia
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:
Exams and Tests
The following tests may be done 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 can benefit from treatment by a health care team. The team should also include family members.
Occupational and speech therapists play an important role in helping both people with apraxia and their caregivers learn ways to deal with the disorder.
During treatment, therapists will focus on:
Recognition and treatment of depression is important for people with apraxia.
To help with communication, family and friends should:
Other tips for daily living include:
If depression or frustration is severe, mental health counseling may help.
Many people with apraxia are no longer able to be independent and may have trouble performing everyday tasks. Ask the health care provider which activities may or may not be safe. Avoid activities that may cause injury and take the proper safety measures.
Having apraxia may lead to:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact the provider 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 apraxia.
Halpern H, Goldfarb RM, eds. Language and Motor Speech Disorders in Adults. 3rd ed. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning. 2013.
Kirshner HS. Dysarthria and apraxia of speech. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 14.
Review Date: 4/30/2018
Reviewed By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, SUNY Stony Brook, School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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