Apraxia happens when you are unable to do learned movements or signals. You may have the desire and the physical ability to do the movements, but you cannot. There are many types of apraxia.

si1213 97870 1 Ischemic Stroke.jpg
Stroke can cause brain damage, which can lead to apraxia.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


Apraxia is caused by diseases or damage in the brain, such as:

  • Stroke
  • Brain tumor
  • Brain injury
  • Infection
  • Brain disease, such as:

Risk Factors

Apraxia may be due to stroke. It is important to know the risk factors for stroke such as:


Some common forms of apraxia and their symptoms include:

  • Buccofacial or orofacial apraxia—inability to make facial movements, such as winking, whistling, or sticking out the tongue
  • Apraxia of speech—difficulty performing the movements needed to make speech
  • Constructional apraxia—inability to copy or draw simple figures or to make two- or three-dimensional forms
  • Gait apraxia—difficulty walking, which can lead to an increased risk of falls
  • Conceptual apraxia—inability to select or use tools or objects properly, to make complex movements at the same time, and to do tasks in order
  • Limb-kinetic apraxia—inability to make fine, exact movements with hands or fingers such as handling coins
  • Ideomotor apraxia—inability to copy movements or make signals, or to do a function on command
  • Dressing apraxia—inability to dress oneself


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:

  • A neurological exam—You may be asked to:
    • Copy posture, movement, and sequences
    • Draw shapes
    • Put together designs
    • Pick up or rotate coins
    • Select a tool, such as a hammer, and demonstrate how to use it
    • Arrange movements in sequence
  • Your doctor may need pictures of your brain. This can be done with:
  • An exam of the muscles used in speech
  • A speech assessment
  • Evaluation of walking skills

If you are diagnosed with apraxia, you could also have aphasia. Aphasia is a language disorder.


Your treatment depends on what kind of apraxia you have. Families should ask about individualized treatment programs such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Cognitive rehabilitation

It is also important to treat the cause of the apraxia.


It may be difficult to prevent this condition. It is strongly linked to stroke. Following steps to prevent stroke may help. Some of these steps include:

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
  • Review Date: 03/2014 -
  • Update Date: 05/07/2014 -
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association


  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


  • Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada


  • Health Canada


  • Apraxia in adults. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/ApraxiaAdults.htm. Accessed May 21, 2013.

  • Childhood apraxia of speech. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/ChildhoodApraxia.htm. Accessed May 21, 2013.

  • Curioni C, André C, Veras R. Weight reduction for primary prevention of stroke in adults with overweight or obesity. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [serial online]. 2006;4. Available at: http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab006062.html. Accessed May 21, 2013.

  • Lukas RV. Two automobile collisions in one day. J Emerg Med. 2012;43(4):e263-264.

  • NINDS apraxia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/apraxia/apraxia.htm. Updated October 1, 2010. Accessed May 21, 2013.

  • NINDS frontotemporal dementia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/picks/picks.htm. Updated March 20, 2013. Accessed May 21, 2013.