Apraxia is a neurological condition that is characterized by the individual’s inability to control fine and gross (voluntary) motor skills, even though there is no evidence of paralysis, lack of coordination, or sensory deprivation. The condition affects the brain’s ability to correctly signal instructions and related sequencing to the body. This may result in the inability or difficulty to speak, write, read, understand speech, or make certain voluntary movements such as gestures. Caused by damage to the brain’s cerebral hemispheres resulting from head injury, strokes, brain tumors, and Alzheimer’s disease, apraxia affects people of all ages. An accident or fall may cause the condition while a baby might be born with it. In the classroom, children with apraxia have special needs that need to be addressed.
Typically, apraxia of speech is diagnosed by a speech-language professional who examines the muscle development of the jaw, lips, and tongue. Muscle weakness is called dysarthria. The examination includes an evaluation of how words are pronounced, how the patient breathes when speaking, and assesses the ability to perform actions such as smiling.
Aphasia is a condition caused by damage to the brain that creates difficulty in reading, writing, speaking, understanding the speech of others, or making certain voluntary movements such as gestures. The diagnosis of aphasia often involves the use of medical tests including the use of MRIs, CT scans, and brain biopsy. As with apraxia of speech, an individual with aphasia will often experience frustration in trying to communicate with others. In severe causes, the condition can make it difficult to live independently.
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