Imagine for a moment that you are the parent of a young child whose speech is severely unintelligible. People who have never met your child, are unable to understand them when they attempt to speak. Sometimes even you, as their parent, have trouble trying to make sense of what your child is trying to communicate. They seem to be understanding language, but expressively the sounds and syllables of the words they are making are somewhat off target. You consult one of our clinician’s and for the first time in your life you hear the term “apraxia” as a possible reason for your child’s speech difficulties—but what is apraxia?
Apraxia is often described as a type of motor speech disorder which may affect the way our body is able to produce speech. Motor speech disorders are almost always neurological in nature, meaning that it’s hard for the child’s brain to carry out the process needed to create speech. A child with apraxia may have to tell their tongue to move, their mouth to open…and so on. Due to this neurological difference, children with apraxia struggle with sequencing as well as articulating sounds, syllables, and words when they are trying to communicate with someone. All of this may make them difficult to understand.