What is it? Apraxia is a breakdown in the ability to translate a verbal command into its motor expression. For example, an individual can only eat with a spoon when you put the spoon in the person's hand and get them started, not when you say, "Use your spoon to eat your soup."
Example Watch the following introductory videos. Click the video icon when ready.
Transcript Apraxia is the inability to translate a verbal command into a smaller expression. If I asked someone with dementia who has Apraxia, "Show me how to light a match," they couldn't do it. They couldn't take my verbal request and translate it into a smaller expression. However, if they happen to smoke, they could light a match perfectly. Why can they do it sometimes, and not other times? The first time I asked them with words to show me how to light a match. In the other instance, no one was asking them to do it. There was no verbal command to understand. They just took a match and lit it. We often take such situations for granted, but it is very complex when there is a break down in this process.
Transcript A typical situation with Apraxia, and one way to work around it, is asking someone to "Take your spoon and eat your soup." We think this is a very simple thing to do, but someone who has a breakdown in those association areas of the brain, just can't take those verbal requests of "taking my spoon and eating my soup,"and do it. However, if the soup is in front of them, and you put the spoon in their hand, without even asking them to do it, they'll do it perfectly well. You can give a patient complete verbal instructions on how to re-pot a flower; they would never know how to start. They look completely awkward. If you put the pot and the earth and the flowers in front of them they could do it naturally because it's an automatic process. If you know when they can't do it and why they can't do it, then you can make those adjustments and really make a difference in their quality of life.