Apraxia of Speech
What is Apraxia of Speech?
Apraxia of speech (verbal apraxia) is a motor speech disorder in which there is a breakdown in the signals sent from the brain to the mouth. This breakdown results in difficulty coordinating the muscle movements of the mouth, tongue, lips and jaw in order to sequence and correctly produce sounds, syllables and words.
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What Causes Apraxia of Speech?
The majority of causes of developmental apraxia of speech are unknown. In some cases, your child may have brain damage or a genetic disorder or syndrome that causes brain damage resulting in apraxia. Acquired apraxia of speech may be the result of a stroke or head injury. It is important to note that apraxia is due to poor motor planning in the signals from the brain to the mouth and is not a result of oral musculature weakness.
What are Early Signs of Apraxia of Speech?
• Does not coo or babble as an infant
• Omission of essential sounds
• Difficulty imitating words on request
• Inconsistency in sound production
• Oral groping during attempted speech production
• Understands what others say but has difficulty expressing
• More difficulty producing longer words
• Puts emphasis on the wrong syllables
What is the Treatment for Apraxia of Speech?
A speech-language pathologist will work on improving the coordination of muscle movements through repetition of syllables, words, and phrases. The speech-language pathologist will also work to shape the child’s muscle movements into correct productions and clearer speech rather than slow and effortful speech production. This process often involves isolating the movements of the tongue and lips, imitating sustained vowels and consonants, and pairing tactile cues to facilitate improved motor planning skills.
Our South Florida Pediatric Speech Therapists treat pediatric apraxia of speech.
If you would like to schedule your child for an evaluation please contact us here.