Speech Therapy

About Common Speech Disorders

When you first started talking as a kid, you might have suffered from many common speech disorders like stuttering or lisping. Your parents and relatives might have considered it endearing and cute. But if you surpassed your childhood and still struggling with your lisping or stutter, then it might not appear so cute. But don’t worry as there are many who struggle with such common speech disorders. More than three million Americans suffer from stammering. Read on to know more about a few common speech disorders.

Signs and Symptoms of Stammering

Common Speech Disorders – An Overview

  • Stuttering – This is a speech disorder which hinders the fluent speech. An individual who stutters may hold a single sound for longer time or repeat the first segment of the word. A few have trouble even getting sounds out. This speech disorder is complex as it can affect in several ways.
  • Cluttering – This is another disorder which makes an individual’s speech difficult to analyze and understand. Similar to stuttering, this disorder affects the flow or fluency of the person’s speech. Although there is a difference – stuttering is a type of speech disorder whereas cluttering is a language disorder. An individual who clutters actually says what he/she is thinking about, although it becomes complicated and disorganized while speaking. This is why they may pause in unexpected segments or speak in bursts. Most often, the cluttered speech rhythm sounds jerky.
  • Articulation Disorders – These disorders include a vast variety of errors which people make while talking. Adding sounds to words, omitting sounds or substituting a “w” for an “r” are few such examples of articulation errors. The disorder, lisping happens when a person does specific substitution for letter “s” and “z.” The affected person replaces these sounds with “th.”
  • Apraxia – This is also called oral-motor speech disorder. This occurs when there is difficulty with motor planning or motor coordination. An affected individual faces hardship moving the structures and muscles required to construct speech sounds into complete words.

Causes of Common Speech Disorders

You might be surprised to know that although normal speech appears to be effortless, it is a complicated process as it requires precise muscle, nerve control and timing. When you speak, you actually coordinate many muscles from various body parts. This includes the respiratory system; the mouth, tongue, lips, teeth; larynx consisting the vocal chords.

The ability to produce speech and understand language is controlled by your brain. Hence, if a person suffering from brain damage due to a birth defect, stroke or an accident can have speech and language disorders. The speech disorder, apraxia, is believed to occur because of brain impairment. This can or can not be revealed by brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests.

A few people afflicted with speech disorders, especially articulation problems, may also have hearing problems. If a person has a mild hearing loss, then it may affect the ability to reproduce the sounds he/she hears. Some specific birth defects like cleft palate can also cause a hindrance with a person’s ability to produce speech sounds. This condition affects the air movement through the nasal and oral passages. Another factor which may play a role in speech disorders is genetics. Stuttering, for example, actually runs in some families.

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