Speech Therapy

What Are The Different Speech And Language Impairments? – An Overview

Going back to school with all the friends after almost two decades was one experience that I can hardly put in words, but surprisingly the ignorance among teachers regarding the Speech And Language Impairments was appalling. ‘Lazy’, was the only explanation or excuse they could come up with when I prodded them why some of the children are finding it hard to respond to any of the queries, even in their native language. Articulation, language, voice, and fluency are the four major speech and language impairments that can have adverse effect on an individual’s communication.

Let us learn more about these four different areas of speech and language disorders that can have negative results on an individual’s daily life.

1. Articulation Disorder:
A child or an adult with articulation disorder distorts, ignores, changes, or adds a new sound from words making it difficult for others to understand them clearly.

It is a common problem among children to say one thing instead of another while trying to learn new words, or distorting or changing words, for instance the most popular case would be to call a ‘rabbit’ , a ‘wabbit’. But, this condition becomes a problem only when these children continue the same thing even after passing a certain age, when other children are saying the same word correctly.

2. Fluency Problem:
It is a disorder which often results in abrupt breaks when speaking and which disrupts the smooth rhythm and flow of the speech.

This could be due to stammering, repeating words, hesitation, and prolonged gaps, and disturbances while speaking. This is accompanied by a tense look on the face, stiff back, shoulders, and neck.

3. Voice:
Raspy, hoarse, pitchy, loud, or sometimes dull, nasal or stuffed voices are some of the characteristics of this disorder. In some it also accompanies slight pain while speaking. Individuals with voice impairment can witness loss of voice, change in pitch, and other symptoms.

Voice is air pushed through lungs which travels through the larynx (vocal chords) which vibrates and produces sound. This sound travels through throat, nose, and mouth and produces voice.

4. Language:
Language disorder affects the ability to understand words, use them appropriately in sentences to express ideas, requests, emotions, share information, and needs.

It could also result in limited vocabulary, difficulty in following directions, inability to use words appropriately, and their grammar is not correct.

These are the main four speech and language impairments that are further sub-divided into other conditions and disorders. These divisions and sub-divisions help individuals further. Speech therapists help design programs based on the characteristics of each sub-division and help the sufferer from the condition.

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