Understanding the nature of apraxia of speech: Theory, analysis, and treatment

K. J. Ballard, J. P. Granier, D. A. Robin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Researchers have interpreted the behaviours of individuals with acquired apraxia of speech (AOS) as impairment of linguistic phonological processing, motor control, or both. Acoustic, kinematic, and perceptual studies of speech in more recent years have led to significant advances in our understanding of the disorder and wide acceptance that it affects phonetic-motoric planning of speech. However, newly developed methods for studying nonspeech motor control are providing new insights, indicating that the motor control impairment of AOS extends beyong speech and is manifest in nonspeech movements of the oral structures. We present the most recent developments in theory and methods to examine and define the nature of AOS. Theories of the disorder are then related to existing treatment approaches and the efficacy of these approaches is examined. Directions for development of new treatments are posited. It is proposed that treatment programmes driven by a principled account of how the motor system learns to produce skilled actions will provide the most efficient and effective framework for treating motor-based speech disorders. In turn, well controlled and theoretically motivated studies of treatment efficacy promise to stimulate further developments of theoretical accounts and contribute to our understanding of AOS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)969-995
Number of pages27
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • LPN and LVN


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