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Understanding the complexity of apraxia of speech

The brain knows what it wants to say, but by the time the words or sounds reach the lips, the message isn’t formed properly. Known as apraxia of speech, this condition isn’t necessarily one of speech, but, rather of the brain, where neural pathways malfunction and aren’t able to properly guide the movements necessary for speech or sounds.

To help you better understand apraxia of speech, the team of speech therapists here at Celebrations Speech group pulled together the following information on what causes the condition and how we can help.

Two roads to apraxia of speech

There are two types of apraxia of speech and the difference lies in how the problem develops. With the first, childhood apraxia of speech, the issue is congenital, which means it’s present at birth.

With childhood apraxia of speech, the cause is often unknown and there’s no evidence of any problem on a brain scan. That said, certain connections have been made between childhood apraxia of speech and the existence of a genetic disorder or a metabolic condition, such as galactosemia, an inherited disease caused by an enzyme deficiency.

The other type of apraxia of speech is one that’s acquired because of trauma to the brain, which could stem from an injury, a stroke, or an infection, to name a few.

No matter how the apraxia of speech developed, the end result is the same and we review some of the symptoms next.

The symptoms of apraxia of speech

Identifying apraxia of speech can be difficult because the symptoms can vary from one person to the next, both in terms of severity and type.

We know that apraxia of speech is a neurological problem that “garbles” the speech messaging. More specifically, the brain has a clear idea of what it wants to say, but when you initiate the thought into speech, neural pathways fail to send the right signals to your speech muscles, which can lead to:

Making matters more complicated, apraxia of speech can share symptoms with other speech sound disorders, such as articulation disorders, phonological disorders, and dysarthria (a motor speech disorder). It’s for this reason that it’s important that you seek a proper diagnosis for your child or yourself with our team.

Treating apraxia of speech

When it comes to treating apraxia of speech, the approach depends upon the severity of the condition. If it’s mild to moderate, we typically recommend intensive one-on-one speech-language therapy, which involves repetitive exercises to improve speech abilities.

If the apraxia of speech is severe and verbal communication is too difficult, our team may recommend other forms of communication instead, such as sign language or using specialized electronic devices to communicate.

If you’d like to learn more about managing your child’s or your apraxia of speech, please contact one of our two locations in Brentwood or Stockton, California.

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