A person's speaking ability allows them to communicate their thoughts and ideas to other people. Speech also enables individuals to tell others how they feel. For people with speech disorders, the ability to speak does not come easily to them. Their speech is impeded by their inability to form the correct sounds when they speak. When they can't make the right sounds, the listener often has difficulty understanding what that person is saying. This can be frustrating for both the speaker and the listener. Thankfully, speech therapy can help with most of these speech disorders.
Here are three speech disorders that can be improved by speech therapy.
Stuttering is a speech disorder that occurs when someone involuntarily repeats a word or sound. Along with repetitions, people who stutter also have blocks, which occur when they know what they want to say but they can't make the correct speech sounds. Stuttering can also include stretching out certain speech sounds.
People who stutter also experience physical symptoms when they speak, such as rapid blinking, facial tension, and lip tremors. Speech therapy helps by teaching a person who stutters to talk slowly and deliberately so that they can learn to notice when they stutter. With practice, they can eventually develop a speech pattern that is more natural.
In some cases, a brain injury can weaken the muscles that are necessary to speak. When this occurs, it causes a speech disorder called dysarthria. Symptoms of dysarthria include slurred speech, mumbling, speaking too slowly, and difficulty moving the tongue. Besides a brain injury, other causes of dysarthria include damaged vocal cords, dementia, mouth cancer, autism, and Down syndrome.
Speech therapy helps to strengthen the muscles in the throat and mouth. If the ability to speak cannot be regained, speech therapy can still help the individual learn other ways to communicate, such as using hand gestures, a computer, or specialized communication devices.
3. Verbal Dyspraxia
People who have difficulty putting sounds together in the right order to form words have a speech disorder called verbal dyspraxia. People with this speech disorder also have trouble making certain speech sounds. Some of the primary causes of verbal dyspraxia include birth injuries and stroke. Some people have verbal dyspraxia as a result of having another condition, such as epilepsy, autism, and fragile X syndrome.
Speech therapy for verbal dyspraxia usually involves repeating syllables and phrases. Other methods used during speech therapy include sound and movement exercises, vowel practice, and alternative communication methods, such as sign language.