Apraxia is a movement disorder due to brain injury and manifests as difficulty in executing and coordinating certain movements. Treatment of apraxia is usually based on functional re-education.
What is apraxia?
Apraxia is a medical term for a movement disorder. By definition, apraxia is the inability to coordinate voluntary movements performed for a specific purpose. In other words, a person suffering from apraxia has difficulty performing and coordinating specific movements. Although it can lead to disability, apraxia differs from other movement disorders in its lack of motor, sensory, or intellectual impairments. This means that a person with apraxia has normal motor, sensory and intellectual functions.
Depending on the case, different forms of apraxia can be distinguished:
- Ideomotor apraxia, the most common form, corresponds to an inability to voluntarily perform simple everyday gestures in response to verbal or visual prompts.
- Ideational apraxia, characterized by difficulty in performing complex tasks or sequences of gestures.
- Motor apraxia, which includes kinesthetic apraxia which is a difficulty finding the movements needed to perform simple gestures, and Melo kinetic apraxia which manifests as an impairment of fine, selective, rapid, or serial movements.
- Constructional apraxia, which refers to the inability to accurately copy drawings.
- Buccofacial or orofacial apraxia, which manifests in one or more parts of the face, mouth, and larynx and is characterized by difficulty in making specific, nonverbal movements such as whistling, opening the mouth, or sticking out the tongue.
- Dressing apraxia, which reflects difficulty manipulating, orienting, and correctly putting on clothing;
Gait apraxia, which is characterized by difficulty positioning the legs correctly when walking.
What causes apraxia?
The different types of apraxia are the result of brain damage. They are usually due to :
- A traumatic brain injury (TBI), an impact against the skull, the intensity of which causes brain injury.
- A cerebrovascular accident (CVA), sometimes called a stroke, which is due to a disturbance of blood flow to the brain.
- A brain tumor in which abnormal cells develop and multiply in the brain.
- Neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, which is a disease characterized by the destruction of nerve cells.
What is the risk of complications?
The course of apraxia depends on many parameters, such as the form of apraxia, the type of injury, the patient’s condition, and medical care. In severe cases, apraxia can lead to disability and even complete incapacitation. However, appropriate care often limits the risk of complications and improves the daily lives of people with apraxia.
How is apraxia treated?
Treatment for apraxia depends on the cause of the brain injury. Depending on the case, an adapted medical treatment is applied. This treatment is often accompanied by functional re-education to improve the quality of life of people with apraxia. This re-education may involve several specialists such as occupational therapists, speech therapists, and psychomotor therapists.