Apraxia Speech Therapy

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What is Apraxia of Speech?

Apraxia Speech Therapy

Apraxia of speech (verbal apraxia) is a disorder in which the brain cannot coordinate the muscle movements of the mouth, tongue, jaw, and lips in order to correctly produce sounds, syllables, and words.

When people speak, every word they say is carefully planned in advance by their brains and broken down into sounds and syllables. These signals are then sent to the mouth and formed by the muscle systems. However, apraxia of speech causes those speech signals to break down in route from the brain to the mouth.

Types of Apraxia Speech Disorder

Apraxia of speech comes in several different varieties and can affect an individual to varying degrees. In some cases apraxia is so mild that it manifests itself in a handful of speech errors, while in other cases it is so severe as to stifle all verbal communication.

  • Oral Apraxia means that the child struggles to voluntarily control his or her mouth muscles.
  • Verbal Apraxia is when a child struggles to plan the voluntary moments necessary to say specific sounds and words (it is more common than oral apraxia).
  • Developmental Apraxia is present in a child from birth.
  • Acquired Apraxia affects an individual later in life, most often during adulthood.

Apraxia can also be referred to as motor dyspraxia, dyspraxia of speech, developmental verbal dyspraxia (DVD), Verbal apraxia or verbal dyspraxia, and developmental or childhood apraxia of speech (DAOS or CAS).

How to Spot Apraxia

Because apraxia is such a varied speech disorder, its signs and symptoms are equally diverse. However, here are some of the most common warning signs that should suggest to parents that their child may need professional speech-language care:

  • Little vocal play or babbling
  • Robotic sounding speech
  • Omission of essential sounds
  • Difficulty imitating words on request
  • Inconsistency in sound production
  • Groping with the tongue, lips, or jaw when attempting to speak
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Behavioral disorders, temper tantrums, and inflexibility in social situations

What Causes Apraxia?

As with most speech disorders, speech-language pathologists are not entirely sure what causes apraxia of speech. However, acquired apraxia can be the result of a stroke, head injury, or tumor. It is important to note that with apraxia the muscles of the mouth are not weak, rather the brain cannot properly coordinate muscle movement.

Apraxia Treatment

While apraxia of speech may feel like a daunting diagnosis, it is important to remember that trained speech-language pathologists have many tools and techniques to help children reconstruct their powers of speech. However, that reconstructive process typically involves intensive speech therapy sessions 1-5 times per week.

A speech-language pathologist will target improved coordination of muscle movements through repetition of syllables, words, and phrases. The speech therapist will employ strategic games that assist the child in shaping his or her muscle movements into clearer speech, until the correct pronunciations become a matter of habit rather than concentrated effort. This process often involves isolating the movements of the tongue and lips, imitating sustained vowels and consonants, acquiring core vocabulary, and pairing arm and leg movement with rhythm, intonation, and stress in order to help a child understand speech motor sequencing.

If your child is living with an apraxia of speech, finding a quality speech-language pathologist is a top priority. At Orlando Speech, our SLPs are experienced in treating a variety of speech-language disorders and do so with unparalleled skill and compassion. We are proud to provide mobile speech therapy services to the greater Orlando, Florida area including Dr. Phillips, Sand Lake, Lake Buena Vista, Ocoee, Windermere, Winter Garden, MetroWest, Oviedo, Waterford Lakes, Winter Park, and Maitland. Call us today to learn more about our apraxia speech therapy treatment programs.

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Our Speech-Language Pathologists Treat A Variety of Disorders With Unparalleled Skill And Compassion.

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