Apraxia

An Overview

Apraxia is a poorly understood neurological condition. People who have it find it difficult or impossible to make certain motor movements, even though their muscles are normal. Milder forms of apraxia are known as dyspraxia.

Apraxia can occur in a number of different forms. One form is orofacial apraxia. People with orofacial apraxia are unable to voluntarily perform certain movements involving facial muscles. For instance, they may not be able to lick their lips or wink.

Symptoms of Apraxia

The main symptom of apraxia is an inability to carry out simple movements, even though a person with apraxia has full use of their body and understands commands to move.
People with apraxia may find it difficult to control or coordinate movements voluntarily. These individuals may also have brain damage that causes aphasia, a language impairment that reduces the ability to understand or use words correctly.

  • Difficulty stringing syllables together in the appropriate order to make words or inability to do so
  •  Minimal babbling during infancy
  •  Difficulty saying long or complex words
  •  Repeated attempts at pronunciation of words
  •  Having difficulties imitating what another person is saying
  •  Having to move the lips, jaw, or tongue several times in order to make a sound
  •  Appearing to understand spoken language better than they can speak it
  •  Speech inconsistencies, such as being able to say a sound or word properly at certain times but not others
  •  Incorrect inflections or stresses on certain sounds or words
  •  Excessive use of nonverbal forms of communication
  •  Distorting of vowel sounds

Types

Limb-kinetic apraxia

People with limb-kinetic apraxia are unable to use a finger, arm, or leg to make precise and coordinated movements. Although people with limb-kinetic apraxia may understand how to use a tool, such as a screwdriver, and may have used it in the past, they are now unable to carry out the same movement.

Ideomotor apraxia

People with ideomotor apraxia are unable to follow a verbal command to copy the movements of others or follow suggestions for movements.

Conceptual apraxia

This form of apraxia is similar to ideomotor apraxia. People with conceptual apraxia are also unable to perform tasks that involve more than one step.

Ideational apraxia

People with ideational apraxia are unable to plan a particular movement. They may find it hard to follow a sequence of movements, such as getting dressed or bathing. Aperson with this condition could have trouble dressing, eating, or bathing. It is also known as conceptual apraxia.

Buccofacial apraxia

People with buccofacial apraxia, or facial-oral apraxia, are unable to make movements with the face and lips on command.

Constructional apraxia

People with constructional apraxia are unable to copy, draw, or construct basic diagrams or figures.

Oculomotor apraxia

Oculomotor apraxia affects the eyes. People with this type of apraxia have difficulty making eye movements on command.

Verbal apraxia

People with verbal or oral apraxia find it challenging to make the movements necessary for speech. They may have problems producing sounds and understanding rhythms of speech. It is referred to asapraxia of speech by organizations including the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA).

Causes of Apraxia

Apraxia happens when certain regions of the cerebral hemispheres in the brain do not work properly.
This dysfunction may occur if a lesion in the brain forms across the neural pathways that store memories of learned movements.

A person with apraxia may be unable to access this information. Experts do not yet understand what causes childhood apraxia of speech. Some scientists believe that it results from signaling problems between the brain and the muscles used for speaking.Ongoing research is focusing on whether brain. Abnormalities that cause apraxia of speech can be identified.

Apraxia can happen due to a head injury or disease that affects the brain, such as:

  •  a stroke
  •  head trauma
  •  dementia
  •  tumors
  •  corticobasal ganglionic degeneration

Diagnosis

To diagnose apraxia, a doctor will look at a person’s full medical history and consider all of their symptoms to identify any underlying causes. They may also be looking to rule out similar conditions, such as motor weakness, aphasia, or dyspraxia.
A doctor may carry out a variety of tests to assess:

  • verbal and nonverbal communication
  •  how people participate and function in certain activities
  •  coordination
  •  hearing and listening abilities

Treatment

  • Apraxia is a result of poor communication between the brain and the muscles. Because of the damage that has occurred, the signals that the brain sends to coordinate movements do not reach the correct muscles.
  •  Therefore, to treat apraxia of speech, patients must improve communication between their brain and the rest of the body. Fortunately, you can accomplish this by activating your brain’s natural repair mechanism, neuroplasticity. The best way to do this is through repetitious exercise.
  •  Having you carefully observe how the therapist’s mouth moves when they say words or phrases.
  •  Using visual cues, such as practicing speech in front of a mirror, to remind yourself how to move your mouth to say specific words or phrases.
    Speech therapy sessions for AOS are typically one-on-one and occur often. As improvement occurs, they may occur less often. Additionally, practice at home with family members is also encouraged.

Exercises

  •  Make the sound “ooo” while forming your lips into an O shape. Then say “eee” while forming your lips into a smile. Finally, combine the two and say “ooo-eee.” Repeat 10 times.
  •  Next say “puh” and try to make a popping sound with your lips.
  •  Say “buttercup” 5 times in a row, then say “rocket ship” 5 times. These words work your lips, the tip of your tongue, and the back of your tongue.
  •  Say “puh, tuh, kuh” three times. You can start slow, but try to gradually increase your speed.
  •  For this exercise, just simply sip some water through a straw. Drinking through a straw requires coordinated movement between your lips, cheeks, and tongue, which makes it a great activity for apraxia patients.

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