What is Apraxia?

Jeff Petersen
Jeff Petersen
Jeff Petersen
Jeff Petersen
A person with apraxia will not be able to wink.
A person with apraxia will not be able to wink.

Apraxia is the inability to perform precise movements or actions due to a neurological disorder. A person with this condition may want to perform a specific action or make a gesture, and have the physical ability to do so, but their brain prevents them. Manifesting itself in many different ways, apraxia occurs when the cerebral hemispheres of the brain malfunction in such a way that a person is unable to control specific types of fine motor control. Depending on which activities a person has difficulty with, the problem can fall into a number of specific categories. A person may have one or more types at the same time.

Orofacial apraxia, sometimes called buccofacial apraxia, is the most common type. This type limits facial motion and makes it difficult or impossible for a person to lick his or her lips, whistle, or wink. This is the most common type.

Another common type is verbal apraxia. Suffers have a difficult time speaking. It is often diagnosed in childhood if a child develops speech particularly late, or has more than normal difficulty coordinating mouth movements when trying to form words.

Occupational therapy is often used to help children with apraxia to improve their ability to move their bodies.
Occupational therapy is often used to help children with apraxia to improve their ability to move their bodies.

There are several types of this condition which cause difficulty in performing tasks. Limb-kenetic apraxia makes it difficult for a person to move their arms and legs accurately. Ideomotor apraxia is the inability to perform an action in response to a verbal command. Ideational apraxia is the inability to perform tasks with multiple steps, such as making a sandwich or taking a shower.

Difficulty moving the eyes as desired is called oculomotor apraxia. Patients with constructional apraxia have difficulty or the inability to draw figures or construct shapes.

Having orofacial apraxia makes it difficult for a person to whistle.
Having orofacial apraxia makes it difficult for a person to whistle.

This condition can range in severity from mild forms, sometimes called dyspraxia, to very severe ones. Physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy can sometimes cause improvement. The degree to which therapy relieves the problem varies among patients. Sometimes, there is an underlying neurological disorder that causes the apraxia, particularly in elderly patients. If this is the case, medical treatment for the underlying disorder can sometimes cure the disorder, or make further treatment with therapy more effective.

Jeff Petersen
Jeff Petersen

Jeff is a freelance writer, short story author, and novelist who earned his B.A. in English/Creative Writing from Creighton University. Based in Berkeley, California, Jeff loves putting his esoteric knowledge to good use as a contributor.

Jeff Petersen
Jeff Petersen

Jeff is a freelance writer, short story author, and novelist who earned his B.A. in English/Creative Writing from Creighton University. Based in Berkeley, California, Jeff loves putting his esoteric knowledge to good use as a contributor.

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    • A person with apraxia will not be able to wink.
      By: Alfaguarilla
      A person with apraxia will not be able to wink.
    • Occupational therapy is often used to help children with apraxia to improve their ability to move their bodies.
      By: g215
      Occupational therapy is often used to help children with apraxia to improve their ability to move their bodies.
    • Having orofacial apraxia makes it difficult for a person to whistle.
      By: fuchsphotography
      Having orofacial apraxia makes it difficult for a person to whistle.
    • Individuals suffering from verbal apraxia may have a difficult time speaking.
      By: chuugo
      Individuals suffering from verbal apraxia may have a difficult time speaking.
    • A child suffering from limb-kinetic apraxia may experience abnormal difficulties while learning to walk.
      By: Galina Barskaya
      A child suffering from limb-kinetic apraxia may experience abnormal difficulties while learning to walk.
    • Sometimes, there is an underlying neurological disorder that causes apraxia, particularly in the elderly.
      By: Elenathewise
      Sometimes, there is an underlying neurological disorder that causes apraxia, particularly in the elderly.
    • Verbal apraxia may be diagnosed in a child who develops speech late, which may warrant speech therapy.
      By: photowahn
      Verbal apraxia may be diagnosed in a child who develops speech late, which may warrant speech therapy.