Some Common Speech Disorders

Stuttering is a problem that interferes with fluent speech. A person who stutters may repeat the first part of a word (as in wa-wa-wa-water) or hold a single sound for a long time (as in caaaaaaake). Some people who stutter have trouble getting sounds out altogether. Stuttering is complex, and it can affect speech in many different ways.

Cluttering is another problem that makes a person's speech difficult to understand. Like stuttering, cluttering affects the fluency, or flow, of a person's speech. However, the difference is that cluttering is a language disorder, while stuttering is a speech disorder. A person who stutters has trouble getting out what they want to say, and a person who clutters says what they are thinking, but it becomes disorganized while actually speaking. Because of this disorganization, someone who clutters may speak in bursts or pause in unexpected places. The rhythm of cluttered speech may sound jerky, rather than smooth, and the speaker is often unaware of the problem.

Articulation disorders encompass a wide range of errors people can make when talking. Substituting a "w" for an "r" ("wabbit" for "rabbit"), omitting sounds ("cool" for "school"), or adding sounds to words ("pinanio" for "piano") are examples of articulation errors. Lisping refers to specific substitution involving the letters "s" and "z." A person who lisps replaces those sounds with "th."

Apraxia (dyspraxia), also known as oral-motor speech disorder, is a problem with motor coordination or motor planning. A person with this speech problem has difficulty moving the muscles and structures necessary to form speech sounds into words

What Causes Speech Problems?
Normal speech might seem effortless, but it's actually a complex process that requires precise timing, nerve, and muscle control.

When we speak, we must coordinate many muscles from various body parts and systems, including the larynx, which contains the vocal cords; the teeth, lips, tongue, and mouth; and the respiratory system.

The ability to understand language and produce speech is coordinated by the brain. So a person with brain damage from an accident, stroke, or birth defect may have speech and language problems. Apraxia is thought to be due to a brain impairment that may or may not show up on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests.

The plan will depend on things like age and the type of speech disorder a person has. Speech-language pathologists may evaluate their clients' speech either by recording them on audio or videotape or by listening during conversation. the pathologist can develop a treatment plan that meets each individual's needs. no one knows exactly what causes a person to have speech problems. if you stutter. How Are Speech Problems Treated? The good news is that treatments like speech therapy can help people of any age overcome some speech problems. When a person has a cleft palate there is a hole in the roof of the mouth. the pathologist will examine how and when you do so. By gathering as much information as possible about the way someone speaks. For example. Most treatment plans include breathing techniques. How often you have to see the speech therapist will vary — you'll probably start out seeing him or her more frequently at first. A speech-language pathologist is trained to observe people as they speak and to identify their speech problems. articulation. and jaw. part of your treatment plan may include seeing a speech therapist. For example. particularly articulation disorders. teeth. Even mild hearing loss may have an impact on how a person reproduces the sounds they hear. posture control. If you are concerned about your speech. can interfere with someone's ability to produce speech. Speech-language pathologists look for the type of problem (such as a lack of fluency. including the lips. stuttering seems to run in some families. a person who is trained to treat speech disorders. and a type of voice exercise called oral-motor exercises. Genetics may also play a role in some speech problems. There also may be problems with other structures needed for speech. If hearing tests and physical exams don't reveal any problems. If you're being treated for a speech disorder. it's important to let your doctor know. such as a cleft palate. which affects the movement of air through the oral and nasal passages. relaxation strategies that are designed to help you relax your muscles when you speak. You'll probably . A few clinics that specialize in fluency disorders may use computerized analysis. or motor skills) someone has. But in some cases. Certain birth defects.Some people with speech problems. some doctors arrange a consultation with a speechlanguage pathologist (pronounced: puh-thol-uh-jist). then your visits may decrease over time. may have hearing problems.

If you have a speech problem. for example. often complain that others try to finish their sentences or fill in words for them. Some people look to their speech therapists for advice and resources on issues of stuttering. achieving and maintaining control of your speech might be a lifelong process. Some feel like people treat them as if they're stupid. Speech therapists can often connect you with others in similar situations. If you have a speech problem. especially when a listener says things like "slow down" or "take it easy. CCC-SLP Date reviewed: December 2009 . MA.) People who stutter report that listeners often avoid eye contact and refuse to wait patiently for them to finish speaking. don't hesitate to let others know how you like to be treated when speaking. such as support groups in your area for teens who stutter.have to do these exercises each day on your own to help make your treatment plan as successful as possible. Although speech therapy can help. you are sure to have ups and downs in your efforts to communicate. People who stutter. But the truth is that the way you speak is only a small part of who you are. Don't be embarrassed to make yourself heard! Reviewed by: Amy Nelson. Dealing With Speech Problems Only people with speech problems know how frustrating it can be." (People who stutter are just as intelligent as people who don't.

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