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The article, ‘Apraxia of Speech: An Overview’ by Ogar et al., discusses the various aspects of Apraxia of Speech or AOS, which can be broadly described as speech disorder. Scholars have mainly tried to identify its cause and characteristics to define its cognitive and…
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The article, ‘Apraxia of Speech: An Overview’ by Ogar et al., discusses the various aspects of Apraxia of Speech or AOS, which can be broadly described as speech disorder. Scholars have mainly tried to identify its cause and characteristics to define its cognitive and clinical development. The speech disorder has been under controversy because of its resemblance with other diseases like Dysarthria, Aphasia and conduction aphasia. It is a neurodegenerative disease that is distinct in its inability to ‘coordinate the sequential, articulatory movements necessary to produce speech sounds’ (Ogar et al., 2005). Vascular lesion is considered as its leading cause, but scholars believe that trauma and tumors may also result in AOS.
In AOS, there is loss of control in articulation resulting in reduced ability to sequence, time and coordinate the phonemes that lead to speech errors. The articulation is disrupted due to damage in central nervous system. It is characterized by persistent dysprosody or speech having abnormal rhythm, stress and intonation with repeated utterances in order to become articulate. It is often confused with Aphasia or conduction aphasia and Dysarthria. While Aphasia highlights language deficit and cannot select correct phonemes but has speech continuity, AOS uses correct phonemes but cannot articulate due to motor deficiency and therefore, speech is halting and repetitive. On the other hand, Dysarthria affects articulation due to muscle impairment while AOS has linguistic error is due to lack of motor control.
There is more than one type of AOS as defined by the damages in different part of brain. The treatment is often focused on speech articulation therapy that is designed to improve intonation and stress through repetition of words and speech sound. Augmentative devices and alternative means like gestures, drawing, writing etc. are used for severe AOS patients. The research shows that efficacy of treatment mainly relies on experimental designs as per the needs of the patients. The study is hugely significant because it has helped to distinguish it from the various other forms of speech disorders. Most importantly, clear diagnosis has helped clinicians to address its intervention techniques.
I strongly believe that the paper encourages more in depth study of the subject so that new variant of AOS could be identified. AOS is complex in its characterization and causes. As such, it necessitates early deduction so that patients can use appropriate intervention to bring under control the degenerative feature of the disease. It is distinct in its motor disability of carrying out smooth speech and repetitive nature of intonation that may often result in low esteem as patients are aware of their disability. Hence, early deduction and intervention would greatly help to improve the speech and expedite the treatment.
Moreover, the advancing technology vis-à-vis modern acoustic system, physiologic and neuro-imaging techniques etc. have emerged as critical tools to understand the various aspects of Apraxia of Speech. They have also helped to evolve new technology based intervention like communication devices, electromagnetic feedback etc. which have provided the medical fraternity with more options and the patients with higher level of care and treatment.
(words: 508)
Reference
Ogar, Jennifer et al. (2005). Apraxia of Speech: An Overview. Neurocase, 11, 427-432. Read More
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