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Motor Speech Disorders: Apraxia and Dysarthria

Motor speech disorders include two primary categories, apraxia and dysarthria. In order to produce speech, every person must coordinate a range of muscles and muscle groups, including those controlling the larynx with the vocal cords, the lips, the tongue, the jaw and the respiratory system.

Movements must be planned and sequenced by the brain and then put into motion in milliseconds with the correct timing and force of movement as the relevant muscles execute planned movements that create running speech.

Difficulties in this process may result in apraxia or dysarthria, whether occurring in children as a part of development and in-born neurological differences or in adults as the result of injuries, neurological changes or illnesses.

Apraxia of speech, whether acquired or developmental involves a difficulty in planning, sequencing and/or coordinating relevant muscles or muscle groups for speech production.

Dysarthria, whether acquired or developmental involves a disturbance in muscle control that results in weakness, slowness and/or incoordination in speech production.

The Northwestern University Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning provides comprehensive evaluation and therapy services on the Evanston campus. Diagnostic evaluations determine the course of treatment, including frequency and appropriateness of individual and/or group therapy.

The Northwestern University Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning is a unique community resource that merges university research and innovative teaching with clinical services. Experts in the field – faculty who are nationally certified and state licensed speech-language pathologists – direct provision of clinical services, bringing exceptional knowledge and experience to our clients.

For more information, contact us at 847-491-3165 or