Acquired apraxia of speech is a condition that makes everyday communication extremely difficult.
If you are struggling with acquired apraxia of speech, your communication difficulties may be negatively impacting your mental and social well being.
For instance, you may be struggling to maintain relationships or employment.
At District Speech, our adult speech therapists can help.
Keep reading to learn more about how speech therapy can help acquired apraxia of speech.
What Is Acquired Apraxia Of Speech?
Acquired apraxia of speech is a neurologic speech disorder which results in reduced ability to control the muscles responsible for forming words.
If you are suffering from acquired apraxia of speech, the messages that are sent from your brain to your mouth become disrupted.
When this happens, it becomes difficult for your lips and tongue to move in the correct matter to form words.
Contrast this with childhood apraxia of speech.
Symptoms and speech therapy treatment for childhood apraxia of speech are similar, but the main difference is the cause.
While acquired apraxia of speech is acquired later in life, childhood apraxia of speech is either the result of a genetic condition or a traumatic brain injury that happens soon after birth.
Symptoms Of Acquired Apraxia Of Speech
The most common symptoms of acquired apraxia of speech include the following:
- Phenome distortions, such as the inability to form distinguishable sounds to form words, or using distorted or additional sounds.
- Reduced overall speech rate
- Difficulties with using syllables, such as adding extra syllables into words
- Using equal stress across all syllables in a word
Acquired apraxia of speech may also affect your articulation, rate and prosody, and fluency.
Articulation symptoms of acquired apraxia of speech include:
- Voice errors, difficulty distinguishing between voiced versus unvoiced consonants, such as saying “fog” instead of “dog”
- Prolonged phonemes, including stretching out sounds of words
- Inconsistent articulation errors
- Telescoping of syllables, including omitting or collapsing syllables, such as saying “sgetti” instead of “spaghetti”
Rate and prosody symptoms of acquired apraxia of speech include:
- Slow overall speech rate
- Alternating motions rates, such as repeating a single syllable rapidly
- Poorly sequenced sequential motion rates, such as rapid repetition of a sequence of syllables
Fluency symptoms of acquired apraxia of speech include:
- Disrupted fluency with attempts at self correction
- Difficulty initiating speech, may have false starts and restarts
- Sounds and syllable repetitions
It’s worth noting that the fluency symptoms are essentially the signs of a stuttering disorder, so speech therapy treatments for stuttering will take a similar approach.
What Causes Acquired Apraxia Of Speech?
Acquired apraxia of speech may be caused by any condition that affects your brain’s pathways and structures responsible for planning motor movements of speech.
Examples of such conditions include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Surgical trauma
- Progressive disease, such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease
On some occasions, acquired apraxia of speech presents as the first or most prominent symptom in a degenerative condition, such as corticobasal degeneration or progressive supranuclear palsy.
In these situations, the term “progressive apraxia of speech” is used.
Screening For Acquired Apraxia Of Speech
Screening for acquired apraxia of speech typically occurs before a comprehensive evaluation.
The purpose of screening is to identify areas that need further assessment.
To date, there is no specific standardized tools used to screen for acquired apraxia of speech.
Instead, your Washington DC speech therapist near me will look for signs of co existing language, cognitive, communication, and swallowing difficulties associated with other conditions.
Your speech therapist may also recommend a hearing test to rule out hearing loss as the culprit for your symptoms.
A screening may result in one or more of the following:
- Recommendations for rescreening
- Comprehensive assessment
- Referral for other examinations
The purpose of a comprehensive assessment is as follows:
- Identification of impairments in body structure and function
- Identify comorbid, or coexisting deficits
- Identify limitations in activity and social participation
- Consideration of environmental or personal factors that serve as barriers to communications, such as language barriers
- Identify quality of life issues caused by communication difficulties, such as unemployment
How Can A Speech Therapist For Acquired Apraxia Of Speech Help?
Speech therapy can provide solutions for acquired apraxia of speech.
Your speech therapist will work with you to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and naturalness of your communication.
Treatment techniques can be restorative or compensatory.
Your speech therapist will also help you organize a practice schedule as well as provide regular feedback regarding your progress.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the speech therapy treatment approaches for acquired apraxia of speech.
1. Sensory Cueing
Sensory cueing approaches to acquired apraxia of speech focus on several different types of sensory cues, including tactile and visual cueing, in order to teach movement sequences for speech.
Tactile cueing requires your speech therapist to apply pressure to your face, neck, and head as a cue for correct speech production.
On the other hand, visual cueing may use tools such as a mirror or computer to provide cues for correct speech production.
2. Articulatory Kinematic
Articulatory kinematic approaches to acquired apraxia of speech focus on proper mouth movements for speech production.
Attention is paid to improvement in rhythm and speech rate and may include the aid of external clues.
In sound production treatment, for instance, your speech therapist may get you to repeat similar words, such as “big” and “fig”, while simultaneously opening and closing your fist to simulate the blast of air required to produce those words.
3. Word And Phrase Focused Approaches
Word and phrase focused approaches to acquired apraxia of speech focus on correct speech production of specific words or phrase.
For example, script training helps individuals speak efficiently on a few personally relevant topics.
In this approach, your speech therapist will help you practice specific phrases, so they eventually become automatic and natural to pronounce.
4. Rhythm and Rate Control
Rhythm and rate control approaches to acquired apraxia of speech focus on melody, rhythm, and stress patterns to improve speech production.
For example, melodic intonation therapy requires the use of intonations, such as singing, to improve speech production.
Your speech therapist will sing a phrase to you and have you attempt to sing it back.
Over time, reliance on intonation is gradually reduced.
Book Your Appointment With District Speech Today
Has acquired apraxia of speech been interfering with your life?
You don’t have to struggle alone.
At District Speech, we are passionate about helping you improve your speech so that you can return to your roles and responsibilities in your social life.
Contact us today to book an appointment.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.