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Verbal Dyspraxia


What is Verbal Dyspraxia?

Verbal dyspraxia (dis-prax-ee-a) is a speech disorder. A person with verbal dyspraxia has difficulty placing muscles in the correct position to produce speech. The muscles have not been damaged. The messages from the brain that tell the muscles what to do have been affected.

Dyspraxia does not affect a person's ability to understand.

What are the symptoms?

The person usually knows what they want to say, but has difficulty saying it. The wrong sounds may come out or sometimes nothing at all. This can be frustrating for the speaker as one word may come out correctly one minute and incorrectly the next.

A person with dyspraxia may:

  • not be able to speak or gesture at all

  • sometimes be able to produce 'automatic' speech, such as counting, common phrases or greetings such as "fine, thanks" or "OK" or swear words

  • make searching movements with their mouth and tongue, trying to find the right position for what they want to say

  • get stuck on a sound or word

  • have speech which sounds 'jumbled up' and be difficult to understand

  • have pauses and hesitations in their speech, and

  • it may take a lot of effort for them to try and speak.

What causes verbal dyspraxia?

Verbal dyspraxia is often caused by a stroke or another injury to the brain. It occasionally occurs alone, but is often associated with other speech and language disorders.

Does anything make it worse?

A person with verbal dyspraxia may find it more difficult to speak when they are tired or feel pressured to speak. It is important to give the person time to speak and don't force them into trying to speak if they don't want to.

What treatment is available?

Speech therapy. A Speech and Language Therapist can assess your speech and provide practical suggestions for managing your speech. Your therapist may also recommend exercises.

Is there anything others can do?

Practical suggestions others can do:

  • Respect you as an equal - your intelligence is not affected by your speech.

  • Allow you time to get your message across.

  • Face you when talking to you.

  • Sit/stand close to you when talking together.

  • Try to talk in a quiet environment.

  • Ask questions that require shorter responses.

  • Ask specific questions to help identify the subject being spoken about e.g. "Are you telling me about...?", "Is it something you need?"

  • Be honest and say when the person's speech is difficult to understand.

To return to the Speech and Language Therapy home page click here.

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Blood taking, York Hospital

Due to COVID-19, from Monday 6 April the Phlebotomy service at York Hospital outpatient department will be closed until further notice.

We will continue to offer a blood taking services for patients who have urgent bloods requests only, at the nearby Nuffield Hospital. The urgency will have been identified during your medical appointment. Please access the Nuffield Hospital via the main reception and from there you will be directed to Phlebotomy. Please take a seat and wait to be called.

Patients who have routine blood test for yearly check-ups should not attend. Instead, please contact your GP to request an appointment at the GP surgery for your bloods to be taken.


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Haematology and Oncology services

With effect from Monday 6 April there will be temporary changes to the Haematology and Oncology services at Scarborough and York Hospital.  These decision have been made on the grounds of patient safety in the current coronavirus pandemic.  Find out more here.


Visiting cancelled

Due to the increasing number of cases of coronavirus across the UK, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has made the decision to cancel all visiting to all its hospital sites in order to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

There are three exemptions to the ruling which are for one parent of a sick child under 18, for the partner of a woman giving birth and end of life patients at the discretion of the ward sister.

We would ask people to respect this decision and to treat our staff, who will be enforcing the visiting restrictions, with courtesy and respect.  For more information visit our website.


Outpatient appointments

We know that NHS services will come under intense pressure as the coronavirus spreads, and as a Trust we need to redirect staff, free up staff for refresher training and carry out any works as necessary, so we are able to maximise capacity for patients for when the number of infections peak.  We also need to reduce the number of people coming into our hospitals to protect our patients, as well as keeping our staff safe, well and able to come into work.

To do this, with effect from Tuesday 24 March 2020, along with other trusts in the Humber Coast and Vale partnerships, we have made the collective decision to suspend all non-urgent routine outpatient appointments for at least three months.  Urgent and emergency cases and cancer appointments will be carrying on as normal.

These are unprecedented times and we thank you for your understanding.  We know many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried but please not contact the hospital as we will be contacting everyone directly affected in the coming days and weeks.

If you do not receive a letter or a phone call from the hospital, please turn up for your scheduled appointment as normal unless you have symptoms of coronavirus, a cold, flu or norovirus in which case you should contact us to cancel your appointment by clicking here.