Contemporary Approaches to the Management of Post-stroke Apraxia of Speech
Abstract Apraxia of speech (AOS) is a motor speech disorder that disrupts the planning and programming of speech motor movements. In the acute stage of stroke recovery, AOS following unilateral (typically) left hemisphere stroke can occur alongside dysarthria, an impairment in speech execution and control, and/or aphasia, a higher-level impairment in language function. At this time, perceptual evaluation (the systematic, although subjective, description of speech and voice characteristics) is perhaps the only “gold standard” for differential diagnosis when it comes to motor speech disorders. This poses a challenge for speech-language pathologists charged with the evaluation of poststroke communication abilities, as distinguishing production impairments associated with AOS from those that can occur in aphasia and/or dysarthria can be difficult, especially when more than one deficit is present. Given the need for more objective, reliable methods to identify and diagnose AOS, several studies have turned to acoustic evaluation and neuroimaging to supplement clinical assessment. This article focuses on these recent advances. Studies investigating acoustic evaluation of AOS will be reviewed, as well as those that have considered the extent that neuroimaging can guide clinical decision making. Developments in the treatment of AOS will also be discussed. Although more research is needed regarding the use of these methods in everyday clinical practice, the studies reviewed here show promise as emerging tools for the management of AOS.
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