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Apraxia of speech or verbal apraxia is a neurologically based disorder characterized by difficulty positioning speech muscles and sequencing muscle movements for the voluntary production of speech. This disorder is not associated with weakness, slowness or incoordination of these muscles during automatic and reflexive acts. Apraxia of speech can be divided into childhood apraxia of speech or acquired apraxia of speech.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (also Developmental Apraxia)
Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) or developmental apraxia is a disorder that occurs in children and is present from birth. There are various theories of speech motor control but it is believed that the level of impairment in the speech processing system occurs somewhere between phonological encoding and motor planning/programming. These impairments result in difficulty rapidly and accurately moving between sequences of articulatory movements that are required for continuous and intelligible speech production.

There are several treatment programs for CAS. Some approaches uses tactile cues such as PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets). Traditional articulation therapies are often modified using phonetic placement and progressive approximation approaches. Treatment tends to target sound combinations, movement patterns and vocabulary rather than isolated speech sounds.

Acquired Apraxia of Speech (also Verbal Apraxia or Dyspraxia)
Acquired apraxia occurs as a result of neurological damage due to a stroke, head injury, brain tumour, or infection. Apraxia of speech is characterized by difficulty sequencing the sounds in syllables and words and varies in severity depending on the nervous system damage. It can be severe enough to render the individual unable to speak. Individuals with apraxia know the words they want to say, but have trouble producing speech accurately and efficiently. Interestingly, a person with apraxia of speech may have a preserved automatic speech, such as greetings like "Thank you.” or “How are you?”

The severity of the apraxia of speech will determine the treatment approach used by the SLP.

Please contact Speech Solutions to set up a free telephone consultation to discuss an assessment and possible treatment options. You may also be eligible to receive financial coverage through your extended health care insurance provider.