Scientists at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute have identified the cause for apraxia of speech, a speech hindrance in children. This study was published in the Brain Journal on 23 February 2019.
Apraxia of speech is a speech disorder of children. This disorder affects a child’s ability to speak.
Understating the origins of this disorder had been difficult to find, up until now. To find the answer to this, scientists identified anomalies in a key speech pathway of the brain connected to speech.
During the study scientists discovered irregularities in a core brain pathway in patients suffering from apraxia. There were seven families who were part of the study. Members of the families suffering from apraxia were studied by scientists.
While studying the patients, scientists performed various tests out of which one was an MRI scan. During the MRI scan, the scientists could not find any anomalies. However, when the scientists used Brain Tractography analysis, they identified anomalies in the brain. The results indicated core differences in a key brain area for speech.
Angela Morgan, a professor of speech pathology and also the lead author of the study said, “children with apraxia fail to learn to speak clearly and combine sounds properly, the timing and sequencing of their words are also affected.”
Morgan also said that “People struggle to understand what they say, which has major negative long-term effects on their ability to form social relationships, self-esteem, academic achievements and quality of life.”
According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, apraxia of speech is present in 1 in 1,000 children. According to the reports, apraxia of speech occours more in boys than compared to girls.
It is said, that the findings of the study can now help speech pathology and neuroscientists to work towards developing treatments for children suffering from apraxia.