People who have apraxia of speech can't speak well. They understand language. They know what they want to say. And the muscles of the mouth and throat are strong enough to help them speak. But the brain isn't able to plan the order and timing needed for the muscles to move together to create speech that others can understand.
Apraxia of speech can be caused by several things. These include a stroke, an injury to the head, a brain tumour, or a disease of the nervous system. Sometimes it's caused by a condition that gets worse over time. In that case, the apraxia of speech may get worse too.
If you have apraxia of speech, you may:
If it looks like you have a problem like apraxia of speech, your doctor will do a physical examination. He or she will also ask questions about your past health. Your doctor may refer you to a speech-language pathologist (SLP) or you can contact an SLP yourself.
Your doctor or SLP may suggest other tests. These tests are used to find out if you've had a stroke, a brain tumour, an injury to your brain, or a disease of your nervous system. Your doctor may use an MRI or other imaging test. This can help find out what might be going on in your brain that is causing your speech problem.
The SLP will also listen to you talk. He or she will watch how you say sounds and combinations of sounds. The SLP will also listen to how you pause between phrases, how you put stress on parts of words, and how loudly you speak.
There are things your doctor or speech-language pathologist can do to help improve apraxia of speech. He or she may give you:
You may need frequent speech therapy sessions. Your health care team will help you decide on the best schedule for treatment.
Your family and friends can help you communicate better. Share these simple tips with them. Encourage them to:
Speech disorders can make it frustrating to talk with others. But there are some things you can do to make it easier.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: October 9, 2017
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine
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