Apraxia of speech (usually abbreviated as AOS, or else known as acquired apraxia of speech, dyspraxia or verbal apraxia) is a motor speech disorder. Patients suffering from this apraxia have difficulties to translate their speech plans into motor plans, or else to say what they mean. Instead, they tell either something similar or even completely different to what they intended to say. This disorder can affect both children and adult people, and it is caused by the damage of the part of the brain responsible for speech.
Sometimes, AOS can be associated with some other medical problems. Neurological damage (damage of the brain) may cause language problems and apraxia of speech, as well as the weakness of the muscles needed to produce the speech.
What Are AOS Symptoms
People suffering from this disorder experience problems with their speech, sometimes referred to it as robotic speech. They have problems with the sequence of the sounds in words, although they know the words they want to say. The problem is located in their brain, which doesn’t know which muscle to move to make the words sound as they should sound. Instead, these people end up saying something completely different than they wanted in the first place.
Speech problems might include difficulties with imitations of speech sounds or non speech movements (sticking the tongue out). Their speech is usually slow and the errors they make are different each time they try to say the same word, which may be the source of frustration for the patient. Automatic speech and some simple everyday sentences can be preserved, and people might still be able to say “how are you” or something similar, but in serious cases, these patients could be completely disabled to make any sound.
What Is the Treatment for AOS
Speech language pathologist will diagnose the condition and look for potential muscle weakness of swallowing problems, and then recommend the appropriate treatment plan.
Most patients need to slow down their speech to be able to say everything properly, and the therapist suggests slowing down and/or learning how to slow down and say all the sounds that make theword(s).
The treatment usually involves “re-training” of the speech muscles to make the right sounds and place them orderly to form the words. People are guided to exercise their speech muscles and repeat words over and over again, in order to “teach” their muscles how to do it.
Serious cases of apraxia of speech might cause patients to use simple gestures or some electronic equipment, to be understood properly.