References and Advice for Apraxia and Dysarthria

By Pam Marshalla

Q: Do you have any advice on working on reading with a six-year-old child with severe apraxia and dysarthria? This child is having many difficulties with phonological and phonemic awareness and is struggling in all academic areas. Are there any reading programs that you know of that would help? I am already working on phonological awareness skills with her.

First, if he is struggling in “all academic areas” there is more wrong than just apraxia and dysarthria. Apraxia and dysarthria are motor speech disorders and have nothing to do receptive language, cognition, or general learning. This child also has a cognitive deficit, a receptive language disorder, a language-learning disorder, an auditory processing disorder, or something else.

Second, apraxia is a motor speech disorder; therefore working on phonological awareness only will help to a certain extent. A reading program will help him organize his thoughts about phonemes, but it will not get to the heart of his speech production problem. Your client needs to learn to speak better syllables, phonemes, and supersegmentals based on muscle function. The problem is in his ability to perceive and control his movements, not in his ability to hear phonemes.

Third, it sounds like you need basic info about what apraxia is. I am writing a new book for parents on apraxia and dysarthria which will explain my perspective. Until then may I suggest the following written materials below.


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