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Clin Linguist Phon. 2007 Mar;21(3):159-88.

Speech motor control in fluent and dysfluent speech production of an individual with apraxia of speech and Broca's aphasia.

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Department of Speech-Language Pathology, Oral Dynamics Laboratory, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Apraxia of speech (AOS) is typically described as a motor-speech disorder with clinically well-defined symptoms, but without a clear understanding of the underlying problems in motor control. A number of studies have compared the speech of subjects with AOS to the fluent speech of controls, but only a few have included speech movement data and if so, this was primarily restricted to the study of single articulators. If AOS reflects a basic neuromotor dysfunction, this should somehow be evident in the production of both dysfluent and perceptually fluent speech. The current study compared motor control strategies for the production of perceptually fluent speech between a young woman with apraxia of speech (AOS) and Broca's aphasia and a group of age-matched control speakers using concepts and tools from articulation-based theories. In addition, to examine the potential role of specific movement variables on gestural coordination, a second part of this study involved a comparison of fluent and dysfluent speech samples from the speaker with AOS. Movement data from the lips, jaw and tongue were acquired using the AG-100 EMMA system during the reiterated production of multisyllabic nonwords. The findings indicated that although in general kinematic parameters of fluent speech were similar in the subject with AOS and Broca's aphasia to those of the age-matched controls, speech task-related differences were observed in upper lip movements and lip coordination. The comparison between fluent and dysfluent speech characteristics suggested that fluent speech was achieved through the use of specific motor control strategies, highlighting the potential association between the stability of coordinative patterns and movement range, as described in Coordination Dynamics theory.

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