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Peninsula Community Health

Apraxia of Speech

What is Apraxia or Dyspraxia?

Apraxia or Dyspraxia is a disorder of speech which is caused by damage to parts of the brain related to speaking e.g. following a stroke or traumatic brain injury.

People with Apraxia know what they want to say but have difficulty coordinating the muscle movements needed to say the words; they have difficulty sequencing the sounds and syllables in words. Apraxia of speech can range from mild to severe and can co-occur with other disorders of speech and language such as aphasia, difficulty understanding and using language, or dysarthria, weakness of oral muscles.

How Can Speech and Language Therapy Help?

Speech and Language Therapy will offer expert assessment and diagnosis; we work with clients to set goals to allow them to achieve maximum benefit from treatment.

Treatment may include ‘retraining’ the muscles of speech to produce sounds correctly and sequence them accurately in words. We will also look at the client’s overall ability to communicate and teach strategies such slowing down their speech rate.

Those with more severe Apraxia may require an alternative means of communication such as use of an alphabet chart or high tech communication aid.

Case Study

Mrs R was seen by an Adult Speech and Language Therapist while she was admitted to the community hospital following a stroke.

Assessment found that she had moderate Apraxia of speech. She was frustrated by her inability to express her needs clearly to staff on the ward.

The Adult Speech and Language Therapist gave her strategies to improve her ability to communicate, such as pacing herself, and writing down key words. Staff and family were also educated regarding how to best support her ability to express herself.

With support from the Adult Speech and Language Therapist her family helped her to practise saying her grandchildren’s names, something she particularly wanted to work on. This helped to ease her hospital stay and reduce frustration.