Difference between Apraxia and Dysarthria

Apraxia is the inability to perform previously learned movements despite having the desire and physical strength to carry out the activity. On the other hand, dysarthria is simply difficulty with articulating words; ‘dis’ means abnormal or difficult and ‘arthria’ refers to the articulation of words when speaking. Both are disorders of the central nervous system and both have the same result of error and slurred speech.  Difference between Apraxia and Dysarthria

Dysarthria  Difference between Apraxia and Dysarthria

Dysarthria is the result of a neurological injury to some of the components of the motor system of speech, that is, the neuromuscular system involved in the process of speaking. Instead, apraxia is an acquired disorder that has to do with motor planning. It is the result of a deterioration in the ability to generate the motor programs responsible for movements when making speech, such as moving the tongue in a particular way. In the case of dysarthria, an error occurs in the transmission of impulses that control the motor movements of speech. In this case, muscle control is interrupted due to injuries, whether of the central or peripheral nervous system, that is; It is characterized by the difficulty in the pronunciation of the words.

Dysarthria can be caused by injury to the brain (tumor), nerve damage during surgery, neuromuscular diseases (Parkinson’s disease), or due to alcohol intoxication. Dysarthria causes a transmission error, but in apraxia the error is coordination and programming necessary for a movement to occur. The person with apraxia has the will and knowledge to speak, but cannot implement the command. Auditory information and comprehension are also normal in apraxia individuals.

Lesions in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) cause spastic dysarthria, where the contraction of the muscles is not continuous; whereas lesions of the peripheral nervous system cause peripheral flaccid dysarthria. The errors that occur in dysarthria are consistent and predictable and consist mainly of distortions and omissions of speech.


Apraxia occurs due to damage to the brain, especially, in the parts of the brain that work involved in speech. Therefore, in most cases it is the left part of the brain that has been affected. Errors tend to occur mostly when a person is not having a spontaneous speech, but when it is done out of context.

Aspects of speech such as articulation, phonation, resonance, frequency, and respiration are affected with dysarthria, while all of these elements remain nearly normal in apraxia.

In dysarthria, movement of the tongue, lips, and soft palate may be affected. Therefore, there are often problems associated with difficulty swallowing food in patients who suffer from this problem.

In patients with apraxia, it is not the muscle that is affected. This is one of the main differences between this condition and dysarthria.

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