Apraxia is the inability to perform voluntary skilled or purposeful movements. A person with apraxia can often understand what to do and has the physical ability to do the task. However, their body simply has trouble cooperating with their best intentions. This is a direct result of injury to the brain. There is a disconnection between the idea of a movement and being able to carry it out properly.

People with apraxia may have trouble using items correctly.

What might you see?

  • Trying to use a toothbrush to comb hair or a fork to eat soup
  • Unable to follow spoken directions accurately (for example, they may not give “thumbs up” when asked)
  • Putting clothes on backwards, upside down, or inside out

How can you help?

  • Guide the person to complete the task the right way. For example, you can place your hand over your family member’s hand and move it through the correct motions to perform a specific task.
  • Redirect them to perform other common tasks in the correct order, one step at a time.
  • Write down instructions for them on how to perform a specific task in the correct sequence.
  • Post a daily routine or schedule for hygiene and other daily tasks (for example, showering or bathing and dressing) and write the routine down in your family member’s calendar or memory notebook.