I by no means claim to be an expert on Apraxia or speech disorders in general. However, I have a younger brother affected by the disorder. As a counselor and as someone who has a sibling with Apraxia, I feel that it is important for professionals in my field to become more familiar with this disorder that way they are better able to serve children who have this condition along with other comorbid conditions.
Apraxia is a speech disorder that causes difficulty with the motor and neurological coordination aspects of producing speech. It can make pronouncing words, articulating thoughts through speech, reading, writing, and general motor coordination challenging for those affected by the disorder. This can result in speech that is difficult to understand, frustration for both the person trying to communicate and for those trying to understand these communications, delays in memorizing the alphabet, reading below grade level in spite of average or above average intelligence, shyness around peers, difficulty making friends, and predisposition toward mood and behavioral disorders.
One of the questions I get asked regarding my brother’s Apraxia is what his prognosis is expected to be. When addressing the question of anticipated prognosis for those with Apraxia, it should be noted Apraxia ranges in severity from mild to profound with those on the most severe end of the spectrum being nonverbal. Although it is tough to predict the prognosis for any particular individual with this disorder, it needs to be made known that with early intervention, appropiate speech therapy, occupational, reading, and/or psychological therapies for comorbid difficulties, and appropriate educational and communication supports and accommodations, children with Apraxia can experience significant improvements in symptoms and level of functioning. My brother, although moderately to severely affected, is verbal and has gone through a variety of the above mentioned interventions. Perhaps because I know the interventions he has gone through, but more likely just because he is my brother, I am always surprised whenever asked about his prognosis. However, I have to remind myself it is not unreasonable that people are curious about this. Personally, I have no doubt that my brother will be able to live independently and hold down a job when he becomes an adult. Now, I don’t necessarily expect him to become a doctor or English teacher based off of his strengths, weaknesses, and areas of interest. However, I believe that him and the majority of those with Apraxia can and will go on to live successful and productive lives, especially when the right tools and supports are put into place.