It is a complex disorder that requires intensive therapy and typically leads to high levels of frustration for the client and their families.
Apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder that affects children and adults. It is caused by damage to parts of the brain that control muscle movement.
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Messages from the brain to the mouth are disrupted, resulting in difficulty planning and producing the series of movements which are necessary to speak or make specific movements. The apraxic person knows what to say, and can sometimes make the correct movements or sounds. However, when they consciously try to say or do something specific, the apraxia kicks in. For example, one may be able to spontaneously lick an ice cream cone without any effort, yet when asked to stick the tongue out, it becomes extremely difficult to impossible.

Who has apraxia and why?

Both kids and adults live with Apraxia. Apraxia is a motor planning disorder which results in unintelligible speech. Unfortunately, as the person tries to fix their errors, the speech deteriorates and more sound errors occur.

What causes apraxia?

In adults it is usually due to a neurological disorder such as strokes, traumatic brain injury, dementia, brain tumors or a progressive neurological disorder such as Parkinson’s.
In children, it is called “ Childhood Apraxia of Speech” (CAS) and may be caused by brain damage from infections, trauma or rare genetic disorders. CAS may occur in otherwise healthy children or those diagnosed with autism or epilepsy. Errors usually increase when combining sounds, using longer words or phrase and when imitating speech. In the most severe cases it may be impossible to even make sound or the speech may be almost impossible to understand.


Symptoms include inconsistent speech errors, substitutions of sounds (ex: saying "fufause" instead of "because", word substitutions (ex: "hammock" for "swing") or strings of sounds which are not related to the word at all. Other problems occur when combining sounds, saying longer words or phrases and when imitating speech. Children with CAS sometimes, but not always, have additional difficulties in language development, fine motor coordination, reading and writing.

Need of Intensive Therapy with Apraxia

Intensive therapy is needed to improve speech coordination but not to strengthen oral muscles. Frequent therapy sessions, must be provided by a speech language pathologist who has experience in treating apraxia. Consistent practice at home, family training and patient education are essential when working with a person with apraxia.
Apraxia of Speech in ChildrenApraxia - NICDH
Speaking of Apraxia: A parents guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech, 2nd edition by Leslie Lindsay
Overcoming Apraxia by Laura Basal Smith

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