Apraxia is a type of brain injury that results in difficulty with voluntary movements. A person with apraxia may be able to perform activities or say things that are automatic, but be unable to do things when asked.
Apraxia occurs because of the brain's inability to plan movements and send the correct message to the muscles; it is not due to muscle damage. There are several types of apraxia: oral, verbal (apraxia of speech) and limb. The speech–language pathologist deals with oral and verbal apraxia, which is explained below.
Apraxia of Speech (Verbal Apraxia)
Apraxia of speech affects the ability to make sounds and put them into syllables and words. Someone with verbal apraxia may be aware of the error and try to correct it, often without success. Longer words are usually harder than short ones. An example of verbal apraxia is being able to automatically answer “hello” when spoken to, but unable to repeat the word when asked.
Oral apraxia involves movements of parts of the mouth – lips, tongue and jaw. A person with oral apraxia can produce normal movements automatically or during everyday activities, but cannot imitate or do these same movements when asked. The difficulty may range from mild awkwardness and hesitation to complete absence of voluntary movement. Examples are: being able to smile in response to something funny but unable to smile for a photograph when asked; or being able to open the mouth during a yawn, but not when asked by the dentist.
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