What is Ideomotor Apraxia?

In neurology, several problems challenge our understanding and push the boundaries of our comprehension of the human brain. One such challenge is apraxia, which involves different neurological conditions such as stroke, dementia, and head trauma. A person infected with this disorder cannot carry out various gestures and movements. For example, they cannot button their shirts or tie their shoelaces. Ideomotor apraxia is also a kind of apraxia. It disconnects the link between movements and thoughts. This blog post will elaborate on all aspects of this disorder, including its definition, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and potential interventions.

Understanding the Concept of Ideomotor Apraxia

Ideomotor Apraxia is a brain condition when muscles are strong enough to work correctly but the brain cannot coordinate purposeful, voluntary movements. In children, it shows trouble carrying out simple tasks such as waving goodbye, giving fist-bumps, doing high-fives, etc. It does not mean that they do not understand your commands. 

They comprehend all actions but cannot perform them due to loss of coordination or neurological disconnections. This problem may arise due to developmental irregularities or damages in some parts of the brain, like the parietal lobes. In short, the patients will not translate an idea and command their connected motor actions. 

The Brain’s Coordination

When we talk about this severe brain condition, it is just like discussing the complex teamwork of our brain with other body parts. Take the parietal lobe, the brain’s motor cortex, and other associated parts as a group of musicians working together in a single band. These body parts work together to initiate and control actions, as the musicians do in harmony, to give a smooth and well-practiced performance. 

But the victim of Ideomotor Apraxia plays the wrong note. Due to this, a challenge is created in proper brain functioning. It becomes tough to convert intentions into actions, resulting in mental disruptions. This disconnection reflects the importance of every part of the brain performing our tasks without thinking about anything.

Causes of Ideomotor Apraxia

Brain Lesions

The damaged areas of the brain are called brain lesions. These lesions are often present in the frontal and parietal lobes, which are the main factors producing smoother movements. So, when lesions form in these sensitive areas, they cause ideomotor apraxia. As the neural pathways get disturbed, illness, injury, and other severe mental disorders occur. When you completely understand the formation of brain lesions and their role in weakening the brain’s symphony, you can quickly deal with the person suffering from this malfunction. 

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic Brain Injury is a severe injury or trauma to the head. The head may get injured due to an accident, fall, blow, jolt, forceful bump, or anything that can penetrate the skull and move into the brain. The short-term or temporary TBI causes ideomotor apraxia, breaking the brain’s motor coordination. It changes how a person understands, thinks, acts, moves, and communicates. Long-term TBI not only causes permanent disability but also leads to death.


Ideomotor apraxia usually occurs in individuals who have already gone through a stroke, particularly when a stroke has affected the brain’s frontal or parietal regions. Think of a stroke as a sudden hindrance to the traffic flow of the brain, impacting the vital areas of coordination and control badly. 

The resistance to blood flow damages critical regions, affecting the planning and execution of relevant functions. We can call it a roadblock in the neural pathways. So, blood clots and ruptured vessels are the essential contributors to stroke. Study the effects of stroke on ideomotor apraxia. It will give you the insight to take all precautions related to cerebrovascular events that may occur during or after the disorder.

Developmental Irregularities

Developmental irregularities contribute to ideomotor apraxia by disturbing the average growth and development of the brain during the initial stages of life, like fetal and early childhood organisation. The brain is a network of various pathways that control movements. During early life, the communication between different brain parts is affected if there are some irregularities in these neural connections. Such irregularities may be complex and have long-lasting negative impacts on the victims. As the individual grows, the harmful impacts become worse and more noticeable later in life.

Neurodegenerative Disorders

Neurodegenerative disorders also cause ideomotor apraxia by progressively damaging and changing the brain structure through the degeneration of specific parts. Different disorders cause this kind of apraxia in different and unique ways. For example, Parkinson’s disease impacts the smoothness of actions, while Alzheimer’s disease affects the memory-related performance of the human brain.

Symptoms of Ideomotor Apraxia

The following symptoms are associated with Ideomotor apraxia:

Impossibility in Mimicking Gestures

Victims of Ideomotor Apraxia struggle to mimic standard gestures that include everyday movements such as blowing a kiss. Even if they comprehend the meaning behind every action, their clumsy and awkward movements show their abnormality clearly.

Inconsistent Movements

When someone infected with this disorder moves, they cannot perform the same task consistently. For example, an individual executes one specific gesture on a particular occasion but cannot replicate it accurately on another occasion.

Difficulty in Tool Use

People may need help with everyday objects or tools. It manifests as problems using tools, utensils, and simple objects in a reasonable manner. The coordination of different body parts for these tasks becomes a challenge.

Not Following the Correct Commands

People with Ideomotor apraxia find it hard to follow commands that include multi-steps or a sequence of actions. For such complex tasks, the problem arises from the inability to plan and organise steps.

Poor spatial understanding

Some problems may arise with the sensation of spatial aspects of movements. It enables the individual to make inaccurate contact with an object. Such people cannot place items in their correct locations and navigate spatial movements.

Difficulty in Expressing Emotions

Victims of Ideomotor Apraxis face difficulty in expressing feelings or emotions like sadness, happiness, anger, excitement, etc. Also, there are no facial expressions, and they often show poker faces in response to social or emotional cues.

Emotional Distress and Frustration

When a person copes with the challenges created by Ideomotor apraxia, it can lead to emotional distress that further causes frustration. Such individuals feel frustrated due to their inability to perform routine tasks. In this way, their emotional well-being is affected. As a result, they also feel hesitant to sit at a public gathering. Remember that different individuals have different severity of symptoms, and the leading causes, such as brain injury, neurological conditions, or developmental factors, determine the particular symptoms above.

Diagnostic Complications and Evaluations

Clinical Evaluations

In the diagnosis of Ideomotor apraxia, there is a need for complete clinical evaluations that involve a collaborative effort of both neuropsychologists and neurologists. They perform a series of specific tests designed to determine several factors of motor planning, control, execution, and imitation abilities. The main objective is to know the complications of how our brain coordinates for a purposeful task. 

In addition, the skilled clinical team also observes the performance of patients in real life and incorporates simple tasks into their daily routines. It enriches the diagnostic procedure and offers valuable insights into the practical challenges. As a result, it becomes easier to understand the effect of Ideomotor apraxia on the victim’s daily life. So, an accurate diagnostic clinical evaluation is ensured, laying the foundation for customised support and intervention strategies.

Standardised Evaluations

Standardized evaluations such as the Edinburgh Handedness Inventor and the DeRenzi Apraxia Battery are vital in the diagnostic process. It is because they provide quantitative measures to determine the severity of Ideomotor apraxia. These instruments act as objective measures that allow clinicians to systematically evaluate the victim’s hand. 

For example, the DeRenzi Apraxia has a wide range of various tasks that target different characteristics of Apraxia. 

This way, it provides a complete profile of the patient’s abilities and challenges. At the same time, the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory helps in knowing preferences. It also shows how patients can naturally approach tasks with coordinated hand movements.

Interventions and Therapies

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

When there is an effect of Ideomotor apraxia on speech, it becomes necessary to use AAC. Augmentative and Alternative Communication involve different techniques and tools that help patients express themselves when they are unable to speak and give expressions. AAC is not just about communication; it also includes pictures, gestures, and special devices for victims’ assistance. 

Such modes of communication easily understand the unique requirements of individuals with Ideomotor apraxia. In this way, a supportive space is created where expressing feelings goes beyond speaking issues. With the use of AAC techniques, we assure you that communication will be effective. It results in an environment where the victims can clearly show their thoughts and connect meaningfully with the world around them. 

Rehabilitation Techniques

In the world of Ideomotor apraxia, the challenges of motor dysfunction increase. Simultaneously, a spectrum of rehabilitation techniques is always on the front lines to make a positive impact. Occupational therapy arises as a significant solution that emphasises motor coordination skills. 

Therapists employ tailored interventions and repeated exercises designed to recover the intricate coordination of neural pathways in the brain. The success of occupational therapy depends on its ability to facilitate neuroplasticity. It urges the brain to learn, adapt, and make new pathways to support proper motor functioning. The careful application of these techniques acts as a beacon of hope to offer victims meaningful improvement with increased proficiency and confidence.

Beneficial Innovation

Nowadays, technology has emerged with a beautiful and beneficial innovation to cope with the Ideomotor apraxia. So, this digital age provides patients with adaptive keyboards, augmentative devices, and touchscreen interfaces to give them a suite of tools. Such devices help them interact with and adapt to the world more effectively. 

Augmentative devices act like bridges between expression and communication, while adaptive keyboards participate in specific motor issues to ensure a more accessible and smoother experience. The invention of touchscreen interfaces offers a dynamic element that allows individuals to use technology to enhance their abilities. As a result, it becomes a transformative force that breaks down barriers and opens avenues for improved participation and engagement in different aspects of life for Ideomotor Apraxia patients.

Ongoing Research

As neuroscience progresses, research is continuously done to explore the Ideomotor apraxia. Scientists are working day and night on neural plasticity. It aims to make the brain recover by rewiring itself. Researchers are also using advanced technologies to make more discoveries and inventions. 

Due to their collective efforts, they have deepened their research and are committed to understanding all aspects of this disease, including diagnosis, support, and treatment. They are also trying to help patients move better and have a healthy life again. In addition to ongoing research and relying on technologies, there is also a need to create awareness among people about this disorder. In this way, they can handle the worst situations properly.

Final Thoughts

For the proper functioning of the body, there should be coordination between the body and mind. But in some cases, a disconnection takes place between them. It leads to severe mental disorders. One such disorder, named Ideomotor apraxia, is posing a threat to many people around the world. It needs a lot of support and empathy. The combination of technological interventions, innovative therapies, and ongoing research promises a bright future for those infected with this disease. As our brain has no limits, advancing information and solutions have no boundaries. That’s why, in our blog post, we compiled all the essential facts about Ideomotor apraxia. To know about it completely, do not forget to read it carefully.