Analyzing Speech Disorders
ANALYZING SPEECH DISORDERS
Speech, words and communication disorders affect a significant portion of the world population. From stammering to lisps, dysphonia to dysarthia, a variety of speech disorders exist which make verbal communication difficult.
To those impaired with speech disorders, their remedy is as beyond the closest speech therapist’s doorstep. No doubt and triumph comes easy and resolving a speech disorder does indeed demand dedication, as well as patience. However, regular sessions with language pathologists and speech therapist can do wonders for you.
Speech disorders inflict many with drooping confidence and morale. Families and friends must be supportive and loving towards those with speech and vocal disabilities to endow them with encouragement. Speech impediments stem from neglecting speech learning, vocal abuse, disorders elicited by mental problems and physical defects such as cleft palates which require a surgical correction.
Stammering/stuttering is a symptom of a condition in which the brain's neural circuits for speech have not wired normally.
Stammering is more than just speech disorder. It is a communication and behavioral disorder that affects the person that requires a holistic and comprehensive approach.
Studies reveal that one in every hundred people stammer, in different ways.
A stammer can be identified by prolongation of syllables before the completion of a word. Usually, specific sounds are repeated or fragments of speech are muted by short gaps, repeating the same word unruly. They have difficult time to express certain sounds. Post-traumatic stress, fatigue, fear of authorities or stage freight, excitement, is factors that contribute to stammering.
Spasmodic dysphonia, is a neurological voice disorder that involves "spasms" of the vocal cords causing interruptions of speech and affecting the sound quality of voice. SD can cause the voice to break up or to have a tight, strained, or strangled quality.
When sound production becomes a disturbance, ‘spasmodic dysphonia’ is the underlying reason behind it. In this particular case, the muscles of the voice box or larynx start to move involuntarily and uncontrollably.
This is further divided into three. First, ‘adductor spasmodic dysphonia’ involuntarily slams the vocal chords together and cuts off some words.
Second, ‘abductor spasmodic dysphonia’ is characterized when the vocal folds open involuntarily, allowing air to escape from the lungs resulting in a weak and whispery sound.
Last, ‘mixed spasmodic dysphonia’ is a combination of both that results in either excess stammering or whispering.
Lisps are speech disorders in which individuals are unable to produce a specific speech sound (or sounds). Many children lisp naturally as they learn to speak and produce specific sounds and it is common for children to grow out of a slight lisp.
After about five years of age, however, lisping is no longer considered “normal” and should be investigated by a speech therapist if it is keeping a child from communicating clearly or causing the child distress.
Lisp is classified into four types.
The first, ‘inderdental lisp’ occurs when the tongue pops in between the teeth during speech. Individuals here struggle to make an “s” or “z”, but fail miserably and muster out a “th” sound instead.
‘Dentalised lisps’, the second type occur when individuals put their tongues against their front teeth and push air outwards, resulting in muffled up pronunciations of several words.
Third is 'lateral lisp', which refers to the wet sound, produced due air breaking away from the sides of the tongue making a slushy sound.
The fourth, 'palatal lisp' occurs when the mid section of the tongue brushes against the soft palate.
Selective Mutism is a condition wherein an individual (common to children) that speaks fluently otherwise turns mute in alternative settings. It is the inability or unwillingness to speak. The term "mutism" is specifically applied to people who, due to profound congenital (early) deafness, are unable to use articulate language and so are affected by deaf-mutism.
Many assume that the mute individual suffers from shyness or chooses to remain silent, but the concerned sufferer has an inability to speak in uncomfortable surroundings. He/she cannot or not care to talk. It is universally considered an anxiety disorder and therapy sessions focus on lowering the child/individuals’ anxiety by boosting his or her self esteem. They must gently convince them to explore and feel comfortable in new environments. The word "mutism" comes from the Latin "mutus" meaning unable to speak.
‘Organic lisping’ occurs due to physical defects such as a cleft palate while ‘neurotic lisping’ is brought about by mental disabilities.
'Dysphasia' affects one’s use of language and is caused by damage to the communication center in the brain. Apraxia too is a brain injury side-effect and renders a patient unable to express themselves correctly.
Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder. The muscles of the mouth, face, and respiratory system may become weak, move slowly, or not move at all after a stroke or other brain injury. The type and severity of dysarthria depend on which area of the nervous system is affected. Some causes of dysarthria include stroke, head injury, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy. Both children and adults can have dysarthria. "Slurred" speech, speaking softly or barely able to whisper, limited tongue, lip, and jaw movement and hoarseness of the voice are the symptoms of this disorder.
A rare speech disorder, ‘dysprosody’ disrupts rhythm of the sufferers’ speech which associated with the ‘foreign accent syndrome’.
Individuals with ‘phonemic disorders’ have difficulty in distinguishing between “t”s / all “c”s and mispronounce them or make incorrect sound substitutions.
The ‘Orofacial myofunctional disorders’ directly affect swallowing, speech, and growth of the face and mouth. The most common of these are “tongue thrusts” which disfigures the muscular and skeletal structure of the face.
Different therapeutic approaches:
Speech Language Pathologist