In the United States, about 5 percent of first graders have a noticeable speech disorder, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. One type of speech disorder is apraxia of speech, which is a motor speech problem. Children can have developmental apraxia of speech, which is present at birth. The cause of this type of apraxia of speech is not known. Another type of apraxia of speech is acquired apraxia of speech, which results after damage to certain parts of the brain. This type of apraxia of speech can occur at any age, though the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders pointed out that it is more frequent in adults. Common causes of acquired apraxia of speech include brain tumor, stroke, traumatic brain injury and dementia.
Some patients with acquired apraxia of speech may not require treatment, as they have spontaneous recovery, according the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. For other patients, especially patients with developmental apraxia of speech, they can benefit from speech therapy. The American Speech-Hearing-Language Association noted that with children who have apraxia of speech, they have greater success when they receive treatment three to five times a week. The frequency of treatment may be reduced as the patient's symptoms decrease. The type of interventions used will depend on the individual patient's needs. For example, the speech-language pathologist may work with the patient on repeating sounds, which will help teach the patient mouth movements. Feedback is important during speech therapy for patients with apraxia of speech. Examples include visual cues, such as watching herself speak in front of a mirror.
In some cases in which the impairment is severe, patients may need use other methods of communication. For example, some patients may learn sign language to communicate. Another option is a language notebook, which uses words or pictures to communicate.
We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.