CEMM Virtual Library

The Caregiver's Journey

Apraxia

A person with apraxia can often understand what to do and has the physical ability to do the task. However, his or her body simply has trouble cooperating with his or her best intentions. This is a direct result of injury to the brain, often to the parietal lobe.

People with apraxia may have trouble using items correctly.

What you may see:

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

How you can help:

  • Guide the person to complete the task the right way. For example: Place your hand over your family member’s hand and move it through the correct motions to perform a specific task.
  • Redirect your service member/veteran to perform other common tasks in the correct order, one step at a time.
  • Write down instructions for your service member/veteran.
  • Post a daily routine or schedule for hygiene and other daily tasks (e.g., dressing) and write the routine down in your service member/veteran’s calendar/memory notebook.

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