A response, idea, or question forms in your mind, and your brain sends signals to your mouth to give these thoughts a voice. With apraxia of speech, the communication between your brain and your mouth doesn’t function as it should, and your words can come out garbled or not at all.
To better explain apraxia of speech, the team of skilled speech therapists here at Celebrations Speech Group pulled together some information about the uncommon condition and how we can help.
Apraxia of speech basics
At its core, apraxia of speech is a neurological disorder, which means the speech disorder stems from a problem in the brain. When you want to say something, this process starts in your brain — you have a thought you want to give voice to. Your brain then sends signals to the muscles in your mouth to form the words.
When you have apraxia of speech, the messaging between your brain and the structures responsible for verbalizing the thought isn’t coming through properly. As a result, you’re not initiating the proper sequence of movements in your mouth needed to form the words.
Apraxia of speech can manifest itself in many ways, but here are some warning signs:
- Putting the accent on the wrong syllable
- Making strange movements with the mouth (groping)
- Drawing out sounds
- Saying the same word differently
- Difficulty with longer words
- Distorted sounds or pronunciations
In extreme cases, a person with apraxia of speech might not speak much at all.
Apraxia of speech at any age
Apraxia of speech can affect both kids and adults for different reasons, though the crux of the problem is still the same — dysfunctional messaging between the brain and the mouth.
Childhood apraxia of speech
Affecting only 1-2 children out of every 1,000, childhood apraxia of speech isn’t all that common. The speech disorder is usually present when the child first learns to speak and will generally have a speech delay because of the issue. Researchers aren’t sure why some children have apraxia of speech, but they believe it might be a genetic issue.
Adult-acquired apraxia of speech
You can acquire apraxia of speech if you’ve had trauma to your brain or a stroke. When the brain is damaged, any number of side effects can develop, depending upon which areas of the brain are affected, and apraxia of speech is one possible outcome.
Treating apraxia of speech
No matter what age, our speech therapy services can help. Through one-on-one training, we work on improving the muscle function in your mouth (or your child’s mouth) so that you can make the correct sounds. We rely on repetitive exercises that will help build better muscle memory, and we can also use other approaches, such as using rhythm to create better speech patterns.
For more information about apraxia of speech and how speech therapy can play an invaluable role, please contact one of our offices in Brentwood, Stockton, or Elk Grove, California, to schedule an appointment.