Understanding Apraxia

Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Did You Know? Acquired apraxia can occur in anyone

It is Possible to have Spontaneous Resolution of Acquired Apraxia

Apraxia can be debilitating and leading patients to be unable to complete everyday tasks

While apraxia is a rare condition certain forms can affect anyone and anywhere in the body. This neurological disorder can be confused with other illnesses and conditions.   Please use this guide as a resource for knowledge and understanding of apraxia symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment.


A person with apraxia is unable to put together the correct muscle movements. At times, a completely different word or action is used than the one the person intended to speak or make. The person is often aware of the mistake. Symptoms of apraxia of speech include:

  • Distorted, repeated, or left out speech sounds or words. The person has difficulty putting words together in the correct order.
  • Struggling to pronounce the right word
  • More difficulty using longer words, either all the time, or sometimes
  • Ability to use short, everyday phrases or sayings (such as "How are you?") without a problem
  • Better writing ability than speaking ability

Other forms of apraxia include:

  • Buccofacial or orofacial apraxia. Inability to carry out movements of the face on demand, such as licking the lips, sticking out the tongue, or whistling.
  • Ideational apraxia - Inability to carry out learned, complex tasks in the proper order, such as putting on socks before putting on shoes.
  • Ideomotor apraxia - Inability to voluntarily perform a learned task when given the necessary objects.
  • Limb-kinetic apraxia - Difficulty making precise movements with an arm or leg where it becomes impossible to button a shirt or tie a shoe.


Apraxia is caused by damage to the brain. When apraxia develops in people who were previously able to perform certain tasks or abilities, it is called acquired apraxia. Causes of childhood apraxia of speech is unknown, there may be some link between neurological transmissions to the muscles used for speaking. 


Diagnosing the cause of apraxia may be easily done if there is known brain injury or trauma. Several basic tests can be done to match commands to motor movements such as, whistling, flipping a coin, foot tapping, or tying a bow. If there is no known cause of the apraxia more intricate tests and exams may be performed to determine the cause. Some of these tests may include; CT, MRI, EEG or spinal tap.  


Occupational therapists may employ exercises to rehabilitate proper use of eating utensils, health care and hygiene products, and self-dressing skills. The speech therapist focuses on retraining fluent and articulate movement patterns to improve overall speech intelligibility. Specific exercises may include tongue, lip, and jaw rate and rhythm activities, as well as combinations of complex sound and word productions 

Learn more about neurological conditions, your risks, and symptoms at: http://aan.com

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