Apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder that affects communication ability. People with apraxia of speech know what they are trying to say but they find it hard to get the message from the brain to the oral muscles and it is difficult to coordinate these muscles needed to actually speak the words. This is caused by damage to the parts of the brain which control muscle movement. Oral Apraxia refers to the difficulty with coordination and movement of the mouth for non-speech sounds such as blowing, licking or sucking. A very common cause of apraxia of speech is stroke. Other causes include dementia, tumours, traumatic brain injury and progressive neurological disorders.
Symptoms Of Apraxia
Common speech characteristics of those with apraxia of speech (verbal) include;
- Difficulty in making single speech sounds
- Finding it hard to make clear sentences
- Difficulty sequencing sounds together to make up words
- Inability to control speed, loudness and rhythm of speech
Common characteristics of Oral Apraxia include;
- Difficulty feeding
- Problems swallowing
- Excessive dribbling
Each speech therapy session will involve working on particular speech exercises and practicing retraining your motor pathways for speech on how to produce the sounds. Visual pictures and models of the mouth will be used to help each client understand the exercises. As part of the treatment plan our SLT will also liaise with the SLT in the hospital and other involved healthcare professionals to ensure continuity of care.
Support: Information sheets will be provided each week in order to encourage and facilitate regular practice and improvement at home between your sessions. At all stages throughout the treatment plan, we will provide detailed guidance for you on how to support your speech between sessions depending on what stage of treatment you are at.
Generally, people with apraxia of speech have full understanding of language and know what they want to say but just have trouble actually saying it. This is a huge source of frustration for the individual and without treatment can be quite detrimental to confidence and self-esteem levels. Therefore early intervention in the form of speech and language therapy is recommended.
All of Spectrum Health’s Adult Speech and Language therapists are qualified from University with a B.Sc. or M.sc (Hons) in Speech and Language Therapy and have ample experience working with adults who have had apraxia of speech, stroke, traumatic brain injury and other neurological conditions.