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What is Apraxia?
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Kids Talk Back!

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What is apraxia?

I have heard several terms describing what I thought to be the same thing, and still think some of these are. Though the words have different symtoms, and some apraxic children may have additional problems along with apraxia. These words are: Dyspraxia, Verbal Apraxia, Oral Apraxia, Dyspraxia of speech. My understanding of oral apraxia is it is the muscles involved in speaking, and verbal apraxia it is the signal involved in speaking.
Apraxia is the inability to use articulators (face,jaw,lips and tongue) to speak, though the muscles of these are fine, it is the communication from the brain to these muscles that are weak.
There are no known causes for apraxia, yet there are similarities in cases of apraxia, such as prenatal injuries, period of time without oxygen, and too long in the birth canal. I am in the process of starting a foundation to research more into apraxia, it is a long process of tax papers, funding, and support. Though I will accomplish this goal, I owe it to my child and all of you out there to do something about this disorder.
In addition to the symtoms above here are some additional signs of apraxia:
** wrong sound comes out, or not at all
** Very inconsistent speech, at times child may appear lazy, or that he does not care
** Modeling speech is sometimes better than the child having to come up with the word on its own

Some additional things I have found about the therapy and prognosis is:

From ages 2-5, a child's vocabulary can go from 200-20,000, and with apraxia, if the child does not "memorize" or add these words into a dictionary so to speak, he will have a hard time learning to communicate.
Young children with apraxia can become agressive, and have behavior problems out of pure frustration. Imagine, we talk so much in one day, and can communicate verbally our wants, needs, anything. My worst thought about it is that my Halley can not tell me her feelings, she can show me she is mad, but to just up and yell at me and tell me off, she can not. I worry about emotional issues that could arise from these children.
Difficulties in fine motor skills, such as writing, coloring, and cutting. Now this is new to me, I did not know this until today. I have one child, and she does have problems with all of this. She can only write one letter, and that is "H", yet she can show me any letter I ask her to if she sees it on paper, and that goes with numbers 1-10 also. I do not know how a "normal" 4 year old colors, but Halley almost refuses to try, almost just scribbling all over the paper, yet now I understand a little more. Also there could be problems with learning to read and spell.
One thing I noticed about Halley though, she almost seems to be able to read now, with apraxic children it is there physical actions that tell us so much. She can take all of her videos out of the cases, and put every single one back in the right case, just by matching the words. It is like an early form of reading.
I will update information as I find it. Everyday is a new day, I will learn more and pass it on. That is my goal in this, to inform people about apraxia. I have written 4 letters to Rosie O'Donnell, she has a way to get to so many people, and I need help. Please pass this page on to a friend, you never know how many people have no clue there is even such a word as apraxia. Since mine can't say it, I will, please help "Kids Talk Back."

Characteristics of Apraxia:

** Child comprehends instructions and language, yet is unable to verbally express these back.

** Child substitutes gestures and pointing for oral communication.

** Child's IQ is usually normal or higher than normal levels for his/her age group.

** Child has difficulty imitating words or phrases.

** Mispronounces vowels in words

** The longer the words or sentences the more mistakes the child makes.

** Inconsistently uses words (ex. Says a words only not to be able to say it again)

** Often will use one word for more than one meaning, such as "dada" for juice, milk, dog, ball, etc.

******Note: These are just some of the characteristics of apraxia, this is not intended to diagnose any child, please if you are concerned about your child's speech please see his/her pediatrician.

More Information on Apraxia / Online Diary

When I first started researching this, I believed this to be a condition of developmental delay. Now I have found new information that has linked this disorder to a neurological condition. The best way it was described to me was a "loose wire". A condition in which the brain doesn't always communicate the ability to talk to the mouth. It is a misunderstood speech disorder and considered to be relatively rare, though I tend to disagree.

**note** This information has been gained from various sources, including pure opinion of one mother of an apraxic child. If you are concerned about your child, please talk to his/her pediatrician for more information.