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What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?

Verbal apraxia is defined as difficulty executing the appropriate movements for speech when paralysis, weakness, or incoordination exist. As a result, apraxic patients may have extreme difficulty making speech movements. Such impairments may lead to the omission, distortion, or replacement of certain sounds. Errors seem to increase as the length of the word or utterance increases, and initiating speech can be almost impossible. Repetition of phrases may be inconsistent and overall quality of sound may be poor. Debate regarding the cause of apraxia continues. It is generally accepted however, that the lesion causing apraxia is most likely deep within the left frontal lobe.

Apraxia can also occur developmentally in children, as noted by awkward speech movements that cannot be connected to dysarthria. Symptoms may include difficulty initiating speech, difficulty sequencing speech sounds, and oral struggle behaviors. Children with developmental apraxia may not show evidence of a brain lesion, while adults always do.