Certain types of brain damage can cause a condition known as apraxia. Generally affecting the muscle coordination portion of the brain, people suffering from the condition will experience difficulty when attempting to produce speech, therefore creating a communication barrier.
Usually treated by a speech-language pathologist, someone suspected of having apraxia of speech will undergo a range of formal and informal assessments designed to indicate if the condition is likely causing the symptoms. Common symptoms include difficulty in forming purposeful speech, problems imitating speech sounds, difficulty in manipulation of the lips and tongue in order to produce certain sounds and speaking slowly. The type of brain damage associated with apraxia interferes with the brain’s ability to effectively communicate with the muscles that coordinate to form intelligible speech sounds. Thus, though a person with the condition may know what needs to be said, inability for the brain to communicate with the muscles results in the production of incorrect or no speech.
Since apraxia is often present in addition to other communication disorders, it is difficult to know how prevalent the condition is, says one source. The cause of the condition can vary from case to case as well. Strokes, traumatic brain damage, tumors and progressive neurological conditions have been associated with apraxia in some patients. Following the diagnosis, the speech-language pathologist will generally recommend a treatment plan that will impact the person’s ability to plan, sequence and coordinate the muscle movement necessary for successful speech sounds.
Sustaining a brain injury in an accident often has a range of medical, financial and emotional consequences for the victim. In order to determine if the victim can seek compensation for the damages, a lawyer might be helpful in preparing a claim against the liable party.