Contact Us | Patient Portal | Search:
Printer Friendly VersionEmail A FriendAdd ThisIncrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size

Apraxia

 

Definition

Apraxia is being unable to perform tasks or movements you've already learned, even though your muscles and senses work properly. It is a disorder of the nervous system.

Alternative Names

Inability to make gestures and perform certain tasks; Movements - inability to perform certain tasks; Buccofacial apraxia; Orofacial apraxia; Ideational apraxia; Ideomotor apraxia; Limb-kinetic apraxia; Verbal apraxia

Common Causes
  • Brain tumor
  • Dementia
  • Hemodialysis (long-term)
  • Condition that causes the nervous system to deteriorate (neurodegenerative illness)
  • Stroke
Home Care

Take the proper safety measures if you have:

  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Problems with your senses
  • Weakness

However, you can still participate in normal activities.

You must have extreme patience with people who have apraxia. Take time to show them how to do the task and allow enough time for them to perform the task. Avoid giving complex directions.

Call your health care provider if

Call your health care provider if you are unable to do simple, routine acts and there is no known reason.

What to expect at your health care provider's office

If you are having seizures, you will be stabilized first.

The doctor will perform a physical exam and ask you questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:

Tests that may be done include:

Your doctor may refer to you a physical, speech, or occupational therapist. If the movement problem is a symptom of another medical condition, that condition should also be treated.

Considerations

There are many different forms of apraxia. Some are listed below:

  • Buccofacial or orofacial apraxia: You have difficulty carrying out movements of the face on demand. For example, you may not be able to lick your lips or whistle.
  • Ideational apraxia: You can no longer carry out learned complex tasks in the proper order, such as putting on socks before putting on shoes.
  • Ideomotor apraxia: You can no longer voluntarily perform a learned task when given the necessary objects. For instance, if given a screwdriver, you may try to write with it as if it were a pen. Or, you might try to comb your hair with a toothbrush.
  • Limb-kinetic apraxia: You have difficulty making precise movements with an arm or leg.
  • Verbal apraxia: You have trouble coordinating mouth movements and speech.

Other conditions contain the term "apraxia," but they are not officially a form of the condition. These "apraxia-like syndromes" include:

  • Dressing apraxia (difficulty buttoning a shirt or tying a shoelace)
  • Gait apraxia (difficulty starting to walk)
  • Lid-opening apraxia (difficulty opening the eyelids)

Apraxia may occur with a language disorder called aphasia.

OUTLOOK

Many people with apraxia are no longer able to be independent. They should avoid activities in which they might injure themselves or others.

Occupational therapy and counseling may help both patients and their caregivers learn ways to deal with the apraxia. However, because people with apraxia have trouble following instructions, occupational therapy for stroke or other brain injury is difficult.

No drug has been shown useful for treating apraxia.

References

Heilman KM, Watson RT, Gonzalez-Rothi LJ. Praxis. In: Goetz CG. Textbook of Clinical Neurology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 4.


Review Date: 4/23/2008
Reviewed By: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery and Gene Therapeutics Research Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
MAIMONIDES
MEDICAL CENTER


Home Page
Why Choose Us
Donations
Website Terms of Use
PATIENT
INFORMATION


Visitor & Patient Info
Patient Portal
We Speak Your Language
Patient Privacy
Contact Us
KEY
INFORMATION


Find a Physician
Medical Services
Maimonides In the News
Directions & Parking
FOR HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS


Medical Education
Career Opportunities
Nurses & Physicians
Staff Intranet Access

Maimonides Medical Center    |    4802 Tenth Avenue    |    Brooklyn, NY 11219    |    718.283.6000