Apraxia Awareness Day Date in the current year: May 14, 2024

Apraxia Awareness Day Apraxia Awareness Day is observed annually on May 14, during Apraxia Awareness Month. It was created to raise awareness of childhood apraxia of speech, a rare but severe motor speech disorder that affects an individual’s ability to speak.

Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), also known as developmental apraxia of speech (DAS) or developmental verbal dyspraxia (DVD), is a condition in which an individual has problems saying sounds, syllables and words clearly because their brain has difficulty planning and coordinating the movements of their lips, tongue and jaw.

CAS is a rare disorder that affects less than 1% of children. The cause of apraxia is unknown, but there is evidence suggesting that the disorder has a genetic component. Furthermore, CAS can occur as a secondary characteristic to various conditions such as autism, epilepsy, and genetic disorders such as galactosemia and fragile X syndrome.

Children with CAS usually have no problem understanding other people’s speech and know what they want to say. However, they cannot say it because their brain cannot properly coordinate the muscle movements required to say those words. They typically start speaking later than their peers, and when they do start, their speech has specific features that allow speech-language pathologists to differentiate CAS from other speech disorders. These features include inconsistent errors, difficulty transitioning from sound to sound and from syllable to syllable, and abnormal intonation, stress, and/or rhythm of speech (collectively known as prosody).

There is no cure for childhood apraxia of speech and it doesn’t go away when children grow older, but it is possible for people with the disorder to improve their speech significantly with the help of a speech-language pathologist. Typically, therapy needs to be highly individualized, intense, and consistent in order to achieve success.

The main goal of therapy is to help children learn the movement patterns required for speech by repeatedly practicing words and phrases in order to produce them clearer. In addition, therapy may include helping children find other ways to express themselves until their speech improves such as communication devices or sign language. The success of therapy depends on the severity of CAS, presence or absence of comorbid disorders such as autism, and frequency of therapy.

Apraxia Awareness Day was created in Canada to raise awareness of CAS, combat common misconceptions associated with the disorder, and provide the families of children affected by CAS with the resources and support they need. The first observance was held on May 14, 2012. Since then, Apraxia Awarenss Day has become an international awareness campaign supported by many organizations and institutions.

There are many ways to get involved with Apraxia Awareness Day. You can learn more about CAS and share the facts you’ve learned with others, participate in seminars, webinars, and other events and activities hosted by organizations that promote apraxia awareness, donate to a charity that funds apraxia research or helps families affected by CAS, and spread the word on social media with the hashtag #ApraxiaAwarenessDay.

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