Types of Speech Impediments and How to Treat Them

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Speech impediments are serious cases of children not being able to make recognizable words. They occur when a child’s jaw, tongue, mouth, and vocal tract are unable to coordinate to make words. If not treated, the condition makes it challenging for children to learn how to read and write. If the speech impediment is not part of another condition, it can be corrected through speech therapy. Here are the common types of speech impediments.

Apraxia of Speech

This condition occurs when the brain is unable to communicate with the speech muscles. The person knows what they want to say, and they can even write it down, but they are not able to say it. a baby can be born with this condition but one may also get it from conditions, such as stroke, dementia, traumatic brain injury, brain tumor, neurodegenerative illness, or surgical trauma. There are different treatment options depending on the cause of the condition. A professional may use motor programming, motor cueing, linguistic, and rhythmic, or a combination of all the above. Mild cases of AOS are challenging to diagnose as they may present themselves as any other speech impediment. Oral and maxillofacial surgery

Stuttering

Also known as stammering, this is a common condition for children. Most children will outgrow the condition. However, some may have it even later in life. There are non-verbal symptoms, such as abdominal tensing and blinking that may indicate one has this condition. In most cases, the condition develops when a child starts learning to talk. It may develop later in childhood, but rarely in adults. The cause of stuttering is unknown. Treatment is mostly behavioral. Most people get into a stuttering episode after certain triggers and a speech-language pathologist can help catch these triggers before they cause stammering. Oral and maxillofacial surgery can enhance the coordination between the jaws, mouth, and tongue to further reduce stuttering.

Dysarthria

Dysarthria is a condition where a nerve or muscle sustains damage. The condition manifests as slurred speech, limited jaw, and lip movement, and slowed speech. There is also abnormal rhythm and pitch, challenges articulating words, changes in voice quality, and labored speech. The condition can develop during the fetal stage or later in life. It may result from stroke and tumors in adults. In children, the condition can develop as a result of cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. Most treatments focus on behavior and therapy, such as exercising and breath training.

Lisping

Lisping is common and most people can recognize them. The most common type is where one makes sounds “th” whenever they want to make sound “s.” In children, the condition can be dental-related. They will outgrow it when the teeth grow back. However, for any other on the list, you need speech training, including pronunciation and annunciation training, practicing in front of a mirror, re-teaching sounds and words, and speech muscle strengthening.

Spasmodic Dysphonia

This condition occurs when the vocal cords spasm causing a speech impediment. It manifests as a shaky, hoarse, tight, groaning, or jittery voice. In most cases, SD affects between older than 30 years. It may result from age-related conditions, such as muscle tone disorders. The condition can be challenging to diagnose as a shaky and hoarse voice can be caused by several other causes. As such, the correct diagnosis has to involve a nose, ear, and throat doctor and a neurologist working together. Breathing control and other techniques can help optimize how the voice is produced.

Cluttering

Cluttering is more like what happens when someone is nervous when they are speaking in front of a crowd. It is characterized by rapid speech or a speech that is too jerky. The person also adds speech disfluencies, such as well, uuhm, like, so, hmm, and many others. This condition can also manifest in the form of abnormal syllable stresses and excessive exclusion of syllables. It can be detected in childhood or in adulthood. Treatment involves syllable articulation, annunciation coaching, and rapid word retrieval games among others.

Conclusion

Other conditions include selective mutism where a child chooses not to speak in certain situations, aphasia, which occurs when the brain’s speech capabilities are damaged and speech delay. There are also speech impediments related to autism. If you notice any of the above in your child, involve a speech-language pathologist for fast diagnosis and treatment.

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