Speech Therapists: Take 30% off your first order using promo code "FirstOrder" at checkout! View all worksheets here

10 Apraxia Activities in Speech Therapy

Apraxia activities in speech therapy are specialized interventions designed to address the challenges faced by individuals with apraxia of speech, a motor speech disorder that affects the ability to articulate and sequence speech sounds properly.

These activities are fundamental in helping patients regain control over their speech production through structured and repetitive exercises that focus on the precise coordination of speech muscles.

By integrating tailored exercises, therapists aid individuals in rebuilding the necessary motor plans for clear and accurate speech, enhancing both their communication abilities and overall confidence in daily interactions.

This targeted approach is essential for effective speech rehabilitation, allowing patients to improve not just their speech clarity, but also their ability to engage fully in social and professional environments.

What is Apraxia?

Apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder where individuals have trouble saying what they want correctly and consistently. It is not due to muscle weakness or paralysis but rather a disruption in the brain’s ability to plan the movement of the lips, jaw, tongue, and other speech articulators necessary to produce speech.

What causes Apraxia?

Apraxia of speech arises from damage to the parts of the brain responsible for coordinating the muscle movements necessary for speech. This condition can be triggered by any form of brain injury that affects these regions, including a wide variety of causes. Stroke is a common cause, where a disruption in blood flow can damage specific brain areas, impacting speech abilities. Traumatic brain injuries, resulting from accidents or falls that cause brain trauma, can also lead to apraxia.

Additionally, degenerative brain diseases, such as dementia, progressively impair cognitive and motor functions, potentially inducing apraxia. Brain tumors, whether malignant or benign, can exert pressure on or damage parts of the brain involved in speech coordination.

Lastly, other neurological conditions that deteriorate over time, such as certain types of progressive neurodegenerative diseases, can similarly affect speech-related brain areas, contributing to the development of apraxia of speech. Each of these conditions disrupts the brain’s normal ability to plan and execute the complex sequence of movements involved in speaking, resulting in the difficulties observed in apraxia.

Symptoms of Apraxia

If someone has apraxia of speech, they will often struggle to articulate sounds correctly, which can lead to saying something completely different from what they intended. For example, instead of saying “table,” they might accidentally say “gable,” or instead of “book,” they might utter “pook.” Even if they are aware of these errors, correcting them can be challenging. Sometimes they might pronounce the word correctly, but at other times, they might continue to produce incorrect sounds, which can be quite frustrating.

Symptoms of apraxia include:

  • Difficulty in accurately imitating and producing sounds on your own, where you may add extraneous sounds, omit certain sounds, or distort sounds.
  • Inconsistent ability to pronounce words correctly, managing it correctly on one attempt but failing on subsequent ones.
  • Visible struggling or groping movements with your tongue and lips as you attempt to form the correct sound positions.
  • Slower speech as you carefully try to articulate words.
  • A greater ease in delivering routine phrases or greetings, such as “Hello” or “Thank you,” compared to less common phrases.  These types of automatic speech are often less affected by apraxia.
  • In the most severe cases, a complete inability to produce any recognizable sounds.

Apraxia Activities in Speech Therapy

Apraxia of speech therapy focuses on helping individuals regain their ability to form the correct speech sounds through various structured activities. These activities are designed to improve motor planning and execution skills, which are essential for effective speech production. Here’s a breakdown of some common apraxia activities used in speech therapy:

1. Repetition Drills

These drills involve repeated practice of specific words, phrases, or sounds. This helps strengthen the motor pathways needed for accurate speech production.

Here’s an example:

You may ask a patient to repeatedly say the word “catapult” slowly, focusing on articulating each syllable clearly: “ca-ta-pult”.

2. Sound Sequencing Exercises

Therapists use these exercises to help patients practice sequencing sounds into syllables and syllables into words, gradually building up to more complex combinations.

Here’s an example:

Patients can practice building from a single sound to a word, like starting with the sound “b,” then “ba,” followed by “bat,” and finally “batch.”

3. Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT)

This technique uses the musical elements of speech, such as intonation and rhythm, to improve speech production in those who have severe apraxia. MIT taps into the patient’s preserved singing abilities to facilitate spoken language.

Here’s an example:

Using a simple melody, you can help a patient intone the phrase “good morning,” with the musical pitch emphasizing the syllable “good” and a slight rhythmic bounce on “morning.”

4. Pacing Boards

These tools help patients control the rhythm and pace of their speech by moving a finger across a board at a set pace while speaking.

Here’s an example:

With a board marked with dots or lines, patients can touch each dot as they say each syllable of a phrase like “I need help,” controlling the rhythm and speed of their speech.

5. Visual and Verbal Cues

Speech therapists may use pictures, gestures, or written cues to guide the patient in producing the correct speech sounds.

Here’s an example:

You can show a picture of a dog and simultaneously say “dog,” then ask the patient to say “dog” while pointing to the picture.

6. PROMPT Therapy (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets)

This involves physical touch cues to the patient’s face (e.g., jaw, lips, tongue) to guide them into the correct positions for producing certain sounds.

Here’s an example:

You can guide a patient’s jaw and lips physically to produce the “m” sound in “mop” by providing tactile feedback and resistance.

7. Interactive Technology

Apps and software designed for speech therapy can provide interactive activities that promote sound production and sequencing, often with immediate feedback.

Here’s an example:

As a therapist, you can use speech therapy apps like the Speech Therapy for Apraxia app that visually displays mouth positions for sounds and provides real-time auditory feedback as they attempt to replicate the sounds.

8. Articulatory Kinematic Therapy

This approach focuses on precise movement patterns of the mouth and speech apparatus, using repeated practice and feedback to improve speech clarity.

Here’s an example:

You can record a patient saying the phrase “time to go” and play it back, then discuss how to better articulate the sounds and practice the movements repeatedly.

9. Errorless Learning

Beginning with tasks that can be easily achieved and progressively increasing the difficulty can help reinforce correct speech patterns without the frustration of frequent errors.

Here’s an example:

Starting with a word the patient can pronounce easily, like “home,” a therapist gradually introduces slightly more complex words such as “homework,” reinforcing each step successfully before advancing.

10. Functional Phrase Repetition

Patients practice phrases that are useful in everyday communication to help integrate speech improvements into daily life.

Here’s an example:

Patients practice useful everyday phrases like “Can I have some water?” or “Where is the bathroom?” to ensure they can communicate effectively in common situations.

These activities are typically tailored to each individual’s specific needs and progress in therapy, and they are often integrated into comprehensive treatment plans designed by speech-language pathologists. The goal is not only to improve speech production but also to enhance the patient’s overall ability to communicate effectively in their daily environments.

Conclusion on Apraxia Activities in Speech Therapy

Apraxia activities in speech therapy are vital elements of speech rehabilitation that significantly improve how individuals produce and coordinate speech. These activities extend beyond basic speech mechanics to enhance overall articulatory competence.

By employing a variety of targeted and engaging exercises, therapists can significantly improve a person’s ability to plan and execute the complex sequences required for speech. This method not only helps in reconstructing speech capabilities but also strengthens motor planning, precision, and coordination. Participating in apraxia activities is crucial for developing both the clarity and fluency of speech, ultimately supporting broader communicative functions.

SpeechTherapyByPro is an online speech therapy directory that connects speech therapy pros with clients in need. If you’re a speech therapist, you can Join our community and add your practice listing here. We have assessments, practice forms, and worksheet templates speech therapy professionals can use to streamline their practice. View all of our speech therapy worksheets here.

SLP Team
Author: SLP Team

Our Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) team is a dedicated group of professionals committed to sharing industry expertise to help you grow your practice and improve how you treat your patients.

Scroll to Top