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Apraxia is a motor speech disorder that makes it hard to speak. This disorder can make saying the right sounds and words very difficult. 

To speak, messages must go from your brain to your mouth. These messages tell the muscles how and when to move to make sounds. When you have apraxia of speech, the messages do not get through correctly due to brain damage. You might not be able to move your lips or tongue the right way to say sounds. Sometimes, you might not be able to speak at all. (

Signs of Apraxia of Speech

If you have apraxia of speech, you will have problems saying sounds correctly. This may cause you to say something very different than what you meant. You may even make up words. For example, you may say "chicken" instead of "kitchen." Or, you may say something that might not make sense, like "bipem," even though you wanted to say “kitchen.” You may know that what you say is wrong and try to fix it. Sometimes you will get it right, but sometimes you will still say something else. This can be very frustrating.

If you have apraxia, you may experience these symptoms:

  • Have trouble imitating and saying sounds on your own. You may add new sounds, leave sounds out, or say sounds the wrong way.
  • Be able to say something the right way one time but the wrong way the next time.
  • Move your tongue and lips to get them into the right place as you try to say sounds. This is called groping.
  • Speak more slowly.
  • Be able to say things that you say all the time—like "Hello" or "How are you?"—without much trouble. This is called automatic speech.
  • Not be able to say any sounds at all. This may happen in severe cases. (

Causes of Apraxia of Speech

Damage to the parts of the brain that control how your muscles move causes apraxia of speech. Any type of brain damage can cause apraxia. This includes stroke, traumatic brain injurydementia, brain tumors, and brain diseases that get worse over time. (

Speech-Language Pathology Evaluation & Therapy

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) have specialty training in evaluating individuals motor speech difficulties such as apraxia.

speech-language pathologist can evaluate your speech and language. This will help the speech-language pathologist decide whether you have apraxia or/and a different problem. The speech-language pathologist will look at how well you can move your mouth, lips, and tongue. They will listen to how your speech sounds in single words, sentences, and conversation. A speech-language pathologist tests how you understand what others say and how you use words to tell others about your thoughts.

Speech-language pathologists can work with you to improve how you say sounds and put sounds into words. Treatment will focus on getting your muscles to move correctly. You may need to teach your muscles to make sounds again. Saying sounds over and over and using the correct mouth movements can help. You may need to slow down your speech or talk to a steady beat so that you can say the sounds you need to say. (

Some individuals with severe apraxia and limited verbal communication abilities may benefit from using alternative or augmentative communication strategies or devices. Your speech-language pathologist will determine if these strategies or devices are appropriate based on your communication strengths and weaknesses. (link to page)

Additional Information

Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences

American Stroke Association: Aphasia vs. Apraxia

United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (USSAAC):


Adult apraxia of speech - YouTube