Apraxia is a disorder which is caused by destruction of specific areas of the cerebellum. People who are suffering from apraxia simply cannot perform learned movements although they posses physical ability to do that. This condition can be acquired or can occur during development. Many children do suffer from apraxia and majority of them are not diagnosed with the disease. This can be explained by insufficiently informed parents and teachers. In children this disorder can occur in different variations. The treatment also depends of the form of the disease.
Apraxia can be classified into limb apraxia, oral apraxia and verbal apraxia. The child may suffer from one of these types or he/ she may have all of them. No matter what type occur the child is suffering and struggling to perform certain activities without success.
Some children suffer from oral apraxia i.e. have difficulties with oral movements. The problem is in the brain which cannot pass on commands to the oral muscles which will result in a desirable movement. The desirable movement can be delayed or totally distorted. The child may end up groping his/her face and making facial grimaces. The initial problem may as well reflect to other things in life and cause numerous difficulties. The most embarrassing moments for children suffering from oral aphasia are those spent in school.
In limb apraxia a child cannot perform rough activities such as waving, zipping a coat or even opening a door on command. Even in this type of apraxia the brain cannot make the body to perform desirable activity. There is no conscious control over the limbs. Unlike oral apraxia, limb apraxia is more noticeable and definitely makes more difficulties. The affected children are feeling embarrassed and their peers make fun of them. Teachers can see this disorder and pay more attention to it.
Verbal apraxia is also known as apraxia of speech. This is definitely the most difficult type of apraxia to be diagnosed. Both parents and teachers may think that a child is defiant rather than ill. Some may even confuse this disorder with some other speech disorders such as stuttering. There is a simple way to test whether a child has verbal apraxia or not. Namely, the child is asked to say words starting with the simple ones. The following words are more difficult and after certain period of time the child will increase the number of misarticulations. While, trying to pronounce the word correctly the child may struggle with moving his/her mouth and tongue to the correct position.
The most important thing for both, parents and teachers, is to recognize apraxia. The doctor may confirm the diagnosis and the child will enroll on either a speech therapy or occupational therapy depending on the type of apraxia.