Apraxia is a neurological disorder that affects how the brain processes information to produce movement. It occurs when the brain fails to plan, sequence, and coordinate muscular movements needed for speech. Those with apraxia of speech may experience difficulty uttering words correctly or saying certain sounds accurately. In this blog post, we will discuss how to recognize the key warning signs and outline best practices for treating apraxia. This allows you to have a better understanding of when it’s time to begin working towards successful communication goals.
Apraxia can occur in seniors and adults, although it is much more common in young children. The incidence of apraxia increases with age, as the prevalence rate among adults age 65 or older was estimated to be 3-5%. Adults who have had a stroke may also experience apraxia, which can lead to difficulty performing certain tasks related to speech and movement. Apraxia is not a degenerative disorder and can be treated through therapy; however, early intervention is important for the best outcomes.
Some signs and symptoms of apraxia are a slowed rate of speech, difficulty saying unfamiliar words, problems producing sounds or syllables, inability to find the right word in conversation, and mispronunciation of words. This is because messages from the brain are not correctly sent to the muscles, resulting in difficulties with the movement of the mouth and tongue. Apraxia can result in speech that is slurred or difficult to understand. If a senior is having any of these problems, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
The appropriate treatment for apraxia can vary depending on the individual’s needs and the severity of their condition. It is important to note that the process of treating apraxia may take weeks or even months, so it is important to be patient and consistent with treatment. For seniors who may experience more severe cases of apraxia, alternative methods of treatment may be necessary. These can include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and even art or music therapies.
Physical therapy focuses on strengthening muscles and improving coordination and movement ability. Occupational therapy helps with fine motor skills, such as writing or buttoning a shirt. Speech-language pathology works to improve communication abilities through the use of specialized techniques. Lastly, art and music therapies can help with cognitive functioning and provide an expressive outlet for those struggling with apraxia symptoms. All these approaches have been found to offer hope to older adults suffering from apraxia by helping them increase independence in their daily lives.
No matter the treatment method chosen, it is important for seniors with apraxia to be consistent in seeking and receiving proper care. If left untreated, apraxia can lead to a decrease in quality of life due to communication difficulties and increase the risk of developing other conditions such as depression or anxiety.
If you suspect that your family member has apraxia or any other speech or language disorder, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from an experienced SLP as soon as possible. Our team of experts is ready and waiting to partner with you with our multidisciplinary coordinated-care approach. Contact us today at Sunshine Home Healthcare!