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Diagnosing Apraxia

A speech-language pathologist often takes a lead role in diagnosing both types of speech apraxia.

Developmental Apraxia

Developmental apraxia can be difficult to diagnose because there is no single test or factor that serves as a definitive indication of the disorder. The professional making the diagnosis may:

  • Work with parents to monitor and gather information about a child's speech over a period of time
  • Look for symptoms or groups of symptoms that commonly play a part in the condition
  • Administer standardized tests that measure a child's ability to perform various speech tasks
  • Rule out other possible causes of a child's symptoms

Acquired Apraxia

In diagnosing acquired apraxia, a speech-language pathologist may use the criteria above, as well as consider the person's ability to converse, read, and write. Diagnostic imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be used to help distinguish acquired apraxia from other communication disorders that are caused by brain damage.

Apraxia in Infants

While it is tough to diagnose apraxia in people of any age, it can be even more difficult in very young children. Possible signs of apraxia in infants include:

  • Limited babbling and oral play
  • Late transition to solid foods and feeding difficulties
  • Excessive drooling
  • Evidence of oral apraxia
  • Elaborate gestured communication
  • Slow vocabulary growth
  • Frustration and behavior problems