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Let's Talk About Apraxia

Apraxia in Children:

(Also known as childhood apraxia of speech, developmental apraxia, verbal apraxia, dyspraxia)

Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. It presents as impairment or disruption of speech motor control/planning. Apraxia involves difficulties in perception of movements. Apraxia involves difficulties in perception of movements.

As infants, these children may have feeding problems and demonstrate little vocal play and babbling. They do not go through the typical stages of imitation that most children follow.

Children with CAS have difficulty in voluntary movements and planning speech motor movements. Their memory of oral movements and placements is poor. This results in difficulty with accurate and rapid movement of articulatory sequences that is needed for intelligible speech. Proper articulation consists of the lips, tongue, jaw and soft palate working together as well as coordinating the laryngeal and respiratory muscles. The muscles of the face, mouth, breathing and larynx must work properly together with enough strength and muscle tone to produce coordinated movements for speech production. Apraxia is not a result of weakness or paralysis although at times these conditions may co-occur. Children with verbal apraxia

may have:

  • Delayed oral-motor development, poor oral motor movement control,

  • Poor imitation of speech sounds and phoneme and syllable sequencing

  • Oral apraxia (planning out movements for speech and non speech such as feeding and imitating blowing, puckering, sticking out tongue),

  • Poor awareness of the oral area

  • Low tone

  • Oral sensitization issues (hyper, hypo or mixed sensitivity)

  • Expressive language delays (putting words together to express their thoughts).

  • Atypical intonation and/or prosody (flow of speech)

  • Slow rate

  • Difficulty with multi-syllable words and longer sentences

  • Vowel distortions

  • Searching or struggling to find correct position for articulators to produce sounds

  • Speech sound errors may be inconsistent


Apraxia/Dyspraxia in Adults:

The adult has an adequate speech processing system. The apraxia is usually acquired from a neurological disorder or disease such as traumatic brain injury or stroke with the onset after development of speech. They may have difficulty in the motor plans for speech and nonspeech production. Difficulties with prosody or the flow of speech are often present with errors in articulation.


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