Apraxia: The Motor Speech Disorder

A lot goes on in the developmental stages of children. While there is a lot to figure out, one of the most crucial and complex things a child has to learn is how to speak. Adults often underestimate the process of forming speech sounds because they are so accustomed to it; speech just seems natural. However, sometimes things happen early in life which impact the ability to speak properly, at no fault of their own. Apraxia, the motor speech disorder, is diagnosed when a child noticeably struggles when saying certain sounds, syllables, or words.

Apraxia is different from some other speech disorders because it’s not due to a physical problem with the muscles that form the words. Rather, it stems from an issue with the brain. When the brain has trouble communicating with the parts of the mouth necessary to make sounds, you are seeing a case of apraxia, the motor speech disorder. The brain may be having issues getting messages coordinated by the necessary body parts because of a stroke, a head injury, or even due to a genetic disorder or syndrome. This can be very frustrating when the child knows that he or she has something to say but can’t quite get it out. Some things to look for early on are:

  • First words are late or may be missing pieces
  • Child does not coo or babble as a baby
  • He or she only uses a few different consonant and vowel sounds
  • Has trouble combining sounds or takes long pauses between words
  • Simplifies words by replacing difficult sounds with easier ones

Someone who is older may make inconsistent sound errors that do not align with his or her maturity level. Since apraxia is a disorder of speech coordination and not muscle strength, the individual needs to practice in order to improve speech. We are glad you took the time to learn from CT Sinus Center in our blog, but would like to now point you in the direction of our sister branch. Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat is a great choice if you would like to speak with someone who can sit with your loved one for therapy sessions to get them the practice they need to improve speech coordination. Between all our different experts, there is always a way!

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