Cortical thickness in children receiving intensive therapy for idiopathic apraxia of speech.
Kadis DS., Goshulak D., Namasivayam A., Pukonen M., Kroll R., De Nil LF., Pang EW., Lerch JP.
Children with idiopathic apraxia experience difficulties planning the movements necessary for intelligible speech. There is increasing evidence that targeted early interventions, such as Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets (PROMPT), can be effective in treating these disorders. In this study, we investigate possible cortical thickness correlates of idiopathic apraxia of speech in childhood, and changes associated with participation in an 8-week block of PROMPT therapy. We found that children with idiopathic apraxia (n = 11), aged 3-6 years, had significantly thicker left supramarginal gyri than a group of typically-developing age-matched controls (n = 11), t(20) = 2.84, p ≤ 0.05. Over the course of therapy, the children with apraxia (n = 9) experienced significant thinning of the left posterior superior temporal gyrus (canonical Wernicke's area), t(8) = 2.42, p ≤ 0.05. This is the first study to demonstrate experience-dependent structural plasticity in children receiving therapy for speech sound disorders.