Verbal apraxia is a speech disorder which involves the inability to properly make speech sounds due to the lack of oral motor coordination. Such oral muscles include the lips, tongue, and the face resulting in the incapability of expressing words in a proper and constant manner. This speech disorder is either a child development issue present at birth, or an acquired disorder caused from a brain injury, stroke, or brain affecting illness more typical in adults. Common to either cause, however, speech and language impairments are present in anyone diagnosed with verbal apraxia.
Verbal apraxia will vary in severity whether it is developmentally or accidentally acquired. Symptoms of verbal apraxia include the obvious difficulty of correctly placing syllables along with sounds to understandably verbalize a word. Someone with verbal apraxia may find their speech to be unpredictable, using a correct word at one point but unable to repeat that word in another sentence. Finding the proper word dynamic for someone with verbal apraxia is obviously laborious as they will struggle to put sounds together. Although speech and language pathology is the avenue of diagnosing verbal apraxia, there are no specific tests used to identify the speech disorder. Speech and language professionals along with parents of a child with developmental apraxia will be consistently observant of any signs and symptoms. The speech and language pathologist will rule out some unrelated symptoms while taking into consideration other signs which point in the direction of a verbal apraxia diagnosis. This may be done by observing speech patterns over a certain period of time. Since verbal apraxia varies in severity and each person with the disorder responds to therapy in a different way, a speech and language therapist will develop a treatment individualized to each case. Consistent parental and therapist support is needed for positive improvement. Each individual will progress at a different pace.
Studies continue on the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of verbal apraxia. Research includes the further study of brain and nervous system abnormalities as well as the role genetics play on developmental verbal apraxia. Different areas of the brain related to the disorder are specifically studied. A range of effective treatment methods are also being researched for verbal apraxia.