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Acquired Apraxia of Speech

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) play a central role in the screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of persons with AOS. The professional roles and activities in speech-language pathology include clinical services (diagnosis, assessment, planning, and treatment); prevention and advocacy; and education, administration, and research. See ASHA's Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology (ASHA, 2016).

The following roles are appropriate for SLPs:

  • Providing prevention information to individuals and groups known to be at risk for etiologies (e.g., stroke) associated with AOS, as well as to individuals working with those at risk.
  • Educating other professionals on the needs of persons with AOS and the role that SLPs play in meeting those needs.
  • Screening individuals who present with possible AOS and determining the need for further assessment and/or referral for other services.
  • Conducting a culturally and linguistically relevant comprehensive assessment of speech, language, and communication.
  • Diagnosing the presence of AOS and establishing its severity and prognosis.
  • Using dynamic assessment for differentially diagnosing AOS.
  • Providing intervention to individuals suspected of having AOS.
  • Referring to, and collaborating with, other professionals to determine etiology of AOS and to facilitate access to comprehensive services.
  • Making decisions about the management of AOS.
  • Making decisions, as part of the interdisciplinary team, about eligibility for services based on the presence of AOS and any co-occurring conditions.
  • Developing culturally and linguistically appropriate treatment plans, providing intervention and support services, documenting progress, and determining appropriate service delivery approaches and dismissal criteria.
  • Serving as an integral member of an interdisciplinary team working with individuals with AOS and their families/caregivers.
  • Counseling persons with AOS and their families/caregivers regarding communication-related issues and providing education aimed at preventing further complications related to AOS.
  • Consulting and collaborating with other professionals, families/caregivers, and others to facilitate program development and to provide supervision, evaluation, and/or expert testimony, as appropriate.
  • Remaining informed of research in the area of AOS, helping advance the knowledge base related to the nature and treatment of this disorder, and using evidence-based practice to guide intervention.
  • Advocating for individuals with AOS and their families at the local, state, and national levels.

As indicated in the Code of Ethics (ASHA, 2010r), SLPs who serve this population should be specifically educated and appropriately trained to do so. SLPs who diagnose and treat AOS must possess skills in differential diagnosis of motor speech disorders and co-morbid language disorders; have specialized knowledge in phonological encoding disorders and motor learning theory; and have experience with appropriate intervention techniques.

Content Disclaimer: The Practice Portal, ASHA policy documents, and guidelines contain information for use in all settings; however, members must consider all applicable local, state and federal requirements when applying the information in their specific work setting.