Apraxia is a less commonly co-occurring condition for some autistic people, as well as non-autistic people, such as those who have dementia, have had a stroke or brain injury. The mind wants the body to move in certain ways but the body doesn’t respond to those instructions.

Apraxia of speech is a speech disorder. It means that a person is unable to verbalise their thoughts in a coherent way. This may be a complete inability to speak (apraxia of speech) or, to a lesser degree, confusion with words and sounds, maybe limiting speech (dyspraxia of speech).

Whilst you may read that 64% of autistic children are also diagnosed with apraxia of speech, this statistic is at risk of being misleading. It seems more likely that those autistic children whose speech (or movement) isn’t developing as expected are correctly identified as autistic earlier in life.

That’s not to undermine the importance of apraxia and the difficulties that this causes for autistic people, who are intelligent but are restricted by their apraxia, facing constant judgements and assumptions that they don’t understand and have nothing to say. I strongly recommend watching Inside our Autistic Minds, with Chris Packham. Here’s a clip of  Murray’s Film – sharing his message, of how it feels to be autistic and apraxic. He is a wonderful advocate for non-speaking autistic people. You’ll find both Murray’s Film and a clip from Chris Packham’s documentary in the Information section.

Other glossary entries that may be of interest to you: