By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
The exact cause of development disorder dyspraxia is unknown.
However, it is speculated that injuries to the brain may result in dyspraxia. Injuries may occur while the baby is still within the womb.
Sometimes it could be due to adequate development of the brain cells or due to lack of oxygen during birth.
Brain damage due to illness, stroke or even a head injury or accident may lead to dyspraxia later in life. (1)
Causes of developmental apraxia of speech (DAS)
Developmental apraxia of speech (DAS) affects the child’s ability to speak and correctly pronounce sounds, syllables and words.
The muscles and speech related organs are all normal but the problem often lies in the area of the brain that tells the muscles how to move to pronounce the words.
The exact cause is unknown but a mild brain impairment or malfunctioning may be the cause. (2)
Motor neurons in dyspraxia
Some researchers say that sensory and motor development begin much before language development starts.
Dyspraxia occurs if the motor neurones in the brain do not develop normally.
These motor neurons are responsible for passing information regarding movement to the brain and muscles in a to and fro manner that leads to a coordinated movement.
In children with dyspraxia the motor neurons are unable to form proper connections and are less effective or completely ineffective at transmitting electrical signals from the brain to the muscles. (3, 4)
Risk factors associated with dyspraxia
Risk factors include (4) –
- Premature birth – Born before 37 weeks of pregnancy
- Low birth weight
- Dyspraxia runs in the family so someone with a family history is at risk
- Maternal smoking, taking illegal abusive drugs or drinking alcohol while pregnant raises the risk of dyspraxia in the unborn baby.
Edited by April Cashin-Garbutt, BA Hons (Cantab)
What is Dyspraxia?
Last Updated: Jun 8, 2012