Speech Evaluation and Therapy

Speech therapy is the assessment and treatment of communication problems and speech disorders. It is performed by speech-language pathologists (SLPs), who are often referred to as speech therapists. Speech therapy techniques are used to improve communication. These include articulation therapy, phonetic placement technique, language intervention activities, and others depending on the type of speech & language disorder. Speech therapy may be needed for speech disorders that develop in childhood or speech impairments in adults caused due to an injury or illness, such as stroke or brain injury.

Why do you need speech therapy?

There are several speech and language disorders that can be treated with speech therapy.

  • Articulation disorders: An articulation disorder is the inability to properly utter or form certain word sounds. A child with this speech disorder may add, subtract, distort, or omit word sounds. An example of distorting a word would be saying “thith” instead of “this”.
  • Fluency disorders: A fluency disorder affects the flow, speed, and rhythm of speech. Stuttering and cluttering are fluency disorders. A person with stuttering has trouble getting out a sound and may have speech that is blocked or interrupted, or may repeat part of all of a word. A person with cluttering often speaks very fast and merges words together.
  • Resonance disorders: A resonance disorder occurs when a blockage or obstruction of regular airflow in the nasal or oral cavities alters the vibrations responsible for voice quality (hypo-nasal or hyper-nasal). It can also happen if the velopharyngeal valve doesn’t close properly. Resonance disorders are often associated with cleft palate, neurological disorders, and swollen tonsils.
  • Receptive disorders: A person with receptive language disorder has trouble understanding and processing what others say. This can cause you to seem uninterested when someone is speaking, have trouble following directions, or have a limited vocabulary. Other language disorders, autism, hearing loss, and a head injury can lead to a receptive language disorder.
  • Expressive disorders: Expressive language disorder is difficulty conveying or expressing information. If you have an expressive disorder, you may have trouble forming accurate sentences, such as using incorrect verb tense. It’s associated with developmental impairments, such as Down syndrome and hearing loss. It can also result from head trauma or a medical condition.
  • Cognitive-communication disorders: Difficulty communicating because of an injury to the part of the brain that controls your ability to think is referred to as cognitive-communication disorder. It can result in memory issues, problem solving, and difficulty speaking, or listening. It can be caused by biological problems, such as abnormal brain development, certain neurological conditions, a brain injury, or stroke.
  • Aphasia: This is an acquired communication disorder that affects a person’s ability to speak and understand others. It also often affects a person’s ability to read and write. Stroke is the most common cause of aphasia, though other brain disorders can also cause it.
  • Dysarthria: This condition is characterized by slow or slurred speech due to a weakness or inability to control the muscles used for speech. It’s most commonly caused by nervous system disorders and conditions that cause facial paralysis or throat and tongue weakness, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and stroke.

What are the symptoms of a speech disorder?

Depending on the cause of the speech disorder, several symptoms may be present. Common symptoms experienced by people with speech disorders are:

  • Repeating sounds, which is most often seen in people who stutter.
  • Adding extra sounds and words.
  • Elongating words
  • Making jerky movements while talking, usually involving the head.
  • Blinking several times while talking
  • Visible frustration when trying to communicate.
  • taking frequent pauses when talking.
  • Distorting sounds when talking.
  • Hoarseness, or speaking with a raspy or gravelly sounding voice.