Also known as: speech and language disorders, speech impediments, speech problems.
What are speech disorders?
Any abnormality of a child’s ability to speak clearly and normally can be classified as a speech disorder. There are several different types of speech disorders which include difficulties with:
Articulation (the production of clear and distinct sounds in speech-abnormalities may make it hard to understand what is being said).
Voice and Resonance (production by the vocal cords of a loud and clear sound-abnormalities may result in a harsh, hoarse or raspy voice or a “nasally” sounding voice).
Fluency (smoothness or flow of words-an abnormality includes stuttering).
All can range widely in nature and severity. They are frequently seen in childhood, in some improvement occurs over time, in others it may persist into adulthood.
What causes speech disorders?
Depending on the type of speech disorder, an abnormality may be due to unknown causes, be associated with abnormalities of the structure or function of the mouth, face or palate, hearing loss, due to vocal cord disorders, or timing of breathing, imbalance in sounds produced, or in response to environmental stress.
What are the symptoms of speech disorders?
Symptoms can range widely based on the underlying nature of the disorder. They may include stuttering (the repetition of sounds), long pauses, frustration, head jerking or blinking while talking, trouble articulating properly, a voice that is too loud or too soft, nasal sounding speech or other unusual speech characteristics.
What are speech disorder care options?
The primary treatment for speech disorders is early (infancy or early toddler age) diagnosis and intervention by a licensed professional speech therapist.
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP
This page was last updated on: December 18, 2020 04:40 PM
April 14, 2021 – Why is my child not communicating? Why are mealtimes such a battle? These are some of the questions that speech-language therapists are asked when first meeting families seeking therapy for a young child. Sometimes, it is not just a lack of “speech” or difficulties eating that are the focus of our evaluation. Sometimes we are the first to tell parents or caregivers that the child has what we call “red flags for autism.”
Learn more about
Apraxia of Speech
Apraxia is a neurological (brain related) disorder in which children have difficulty with some muscle movements. There are a number of forms of apraxia- one form is called orofacial apraxia where children are unable to voluntarily move some face muscles or in another form, cannot voluntarily move arm or leg muscles. All may occur in a mild or severe form.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder, often as a consequence of events in the early years of life, which affect the neurological function at various levels. Children may have difficulty in moving in a coordinated manner, learning and behavioral problems or seizures.
Speech therapy is an intervention that targets improving a child’s ability to understand and express language.
Speech audiometry will look at how well the patient listens to and repeats words.