Apraxia of Speech (AOS) is a motor speech disorder in which voluntary movement of the articulators and sequencing of speech sounds is impaired. AOS may be acquired or developmental (Childhood Apraxia of Speech).
Acquired apraxia may result from stroke, head injury, brain tumors, toxins or infections. It often co-occurs with dysarthria and aphasia, as these conditions are all caused by damage to the area of the brain responsible for speech and language.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is present at birth. Unlike acquired apraxia, there are no specific lesion sites in the brain. Children with CAS may also demonstrate feeding problems, expressive language delay, difficulty with coordination and fine motor skills, oral hypo- and hyper-sensitivity and problems learning to read, spell and write.
Signs and Symptoms of AOS Include
- Late and/or minimal babbling during infancy
- Problems imitating speech
- Groping or struggling when attempting to say sounds or words
- Difficulty saying longer words
- Inconsistent errors
- Omitting consonants at the beginning and end of words
- Vowel distortions
- Slow rate of speech
- Errors in word stress, intonation and speech rhythm
- Repeated attempts when trying to say words
Apraxia of Speech Treatment
Speech-language pathologists use a variety of approaches in treating AOS, and treatment must be tailored to the needs of the individual. Frequent, intensive (3-5 times per week), one-on-one treatment has proven most effective, and speech-language problems that co-occur with AOS must also addressed during therapy. Family participation is strongly encouraged to help the client practice new skills and use them in outside environments.