What is apraxia?

What is apraxia?

The apraxia is a neurological disorder which is characterized by the inability to perform basic movements voluntarily, like dressing or eating, even though the person is physically able to perform them and even shows willingness to do so.

People suffering from apraxia they cannot perform common movements when requested, although physically they have the capacity to perform them and, in fact, they can perform the movements spontaneously, without intending to.


  • 1 Why does apraxia occur?
  • 2 Types of apraxia
  • 3 What are the treatments for apraxia?

Why does apraxia occur?

Apraxia occurs as a result of a brain damage in the frontal and / or parietal lobes of the dominant hemisphere, although sometimes also in the non-dominant, as is the case with constructive apraxia. This may be a consequence of traumatic injuries or cardiovascular accidents, tumors or other conditions such as dementia or neurodegenerative diseases. Apraxia can also occur from birth.

Types of apraxia

Depending on the location of the lesion and the loss of associated functionality, there are different types of apraxia:

  • Ideational Apraxia: In this type of apraxia, affected people are not able to perform a task that requires certain verbally sequenced steps. Therefore, they are not able to carry out motor programs that need certain steps to follow. Nor can they carry out the task when they are provided with suitable instruments for it, for example, if the person is provided with a toothbrush to proceed to brush them, he can consider that the instrument is a pencil and try to write with the. Brain lesions that cause this type of apraxia are usually located in areas of the dominant hemisphere close to those whose lesion causes aphasia.
  • Ideomotor apraxia: People suffering from ideomotor apraxia show deficits when it comes to perform planned motor actions when they are verbalized previously. That is, although they can verbally describe how an action is performed, for example "when brushing our teeth, we will first take the toothbrush, then we will add the toothpaste ..." until completing the task description, they are not able to perform it or Even imagine the movement. However, when the task is automatic they achieve their motor objectives, that is, if they think about taking the toothbrush, they are not subsequently able to do it, but they will do so involuntarily. This condition is usually due to lesions due to decreased blood flow in areas such as the parietal area of ​​the dominant hemisphere.
  • Constructive apraxia: In this type of apraxia, affected people are not able to construct or draw simple figures, such as interposed forms. Lesions that cause this type of apraxia are usually located in the lower parietal lobe of the non-dominant hemisphere. Normally the right.
  • Orofacial Apraxia: It is a type of apraxia in which the patient fails to make facial movements voluntarily or in demand. Although the patient can move, for example, the lips spontaneously, as well as whistle or move the cheeks, when asked to do so they are not able to perform movements like these.
  • Apraxia of speech: It is the type of apraxia in which people are not able to speak correctly, being able to make mistakes in pronunciation, intonation and rhythm of speech, among other symptoms, even though the person knows what he means and has physical capacity for it.
  • Oculomotor apraxia: It is the inability to make programmed eye movements, especially when we talk about saccadic movements aimed at objectives.
  • Kinetic apraxia in limbs: This kind of apraxia is given when there is difficulty in performing voluntary movements in a specific body member.

What are the treatments for apraxia?

Apraxia should be treated depending on the type of apraxia in question and the type of brain year suffered. To perform the diagnosisMany aspects should be evaluated to ensure that the symptoms are not due to other causes such as comprehension or muscle problems, as well as MRI tests.

Sometimes people suffering from acquired apraxia can recover spontaneously without needing treatment, but usually people with apraxia are treated with therapies focused on their type of problem such as speech therapy for speech apraxia or occupational therapy, physiotherapy or cognitive rehabilitation .

Support and understanding are essential for the patient's progress, as well as the constancy and choice of appropriate treatment. If you or any known note that has some of the symptoms described above, do not hesitate to consult a health professional.