What is Apraxia of Speech?

Apraxia of speech is a motor planning speech disorder. A person with acquired apraxia of speech has difficulty coordinating the tongue, lips, and jaw to make the correct sounds in words. Apraxia of speech is characterized by slow, halting speech, with sound and word substitution errors.

Apraxia is not due to muscle weakness, paralysis or a language impairment. Someone with apraxia knows what they want to say, but the brain has difficulty planning and coordinating the required movements to form the words. Apraxia of speech can be developmental when it occurs in children. Apraxia of speech in adults is often caused by a stroke or other brain injury.

What is the Difference Between Apraxia and Aphasia?

What’s the difference between aphasia and apraxia of speech? It may be difficult to know because they are both communication disorders that may result from a stroke. In addition, the two might be present at the same time.

We’ve all experienced that “tip of the tongue” feeling, when you know what you want to say, but can’t come up with the correct word for it. These are moments when we know what it’s like to experience aphasia. Aphasia is a language disorder, associated with difficulty finding the right word to express an idea or thought. It can include difficulties with other language modalities, including auditory comprehension, reading, and writing.

Strategies for Dealing with Apraxia and Aphasia

Both aphasia and apraxia of speech make it difficult and frustrating to effectively express what you want to say. Strategies that may help include:

  • Take your time and speak slowly
  • If a word is difficult to say, try using a different word or description of the word
  • Use a total communication approach. You can use facial expression, pointing and gesturing, drawing and writing, and/or icons and pictures to help convey your message
  • Try speaking to a rhythm of tapping or a metronome

Practice saying difficult speech sounds and words using video recording on your phone/tablet, or the SmallTalk apps.

Related Aphasia Information Links

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