People often associate speech therapy with kids who need to learn how to speak. However, speech pathologists also provide treatment for adults to assist with communication, thought processes, and safe ingestion or drinking. Continue reading to learn about speech therapy for adults.Speech therapy deals with assessing and treating people experiencing challenges with language, speech, swallowing…
Common Disorders Treated by a Speech Pathologist
There are several types of speech disorders treated by a speech pathologist. The severity of the disorders often vary. While some are congenital, others may occur over time. Injury or disability may cause a speech disorder, but neurological functions can also be the culprit. Irrespective of the origin of the disorder, undergoing treatment can help to make life better for affected patients.
Common types of speech disorders
Different forms of disorders occur in various categories, which means the presentation of the disorder may be different in each patient. Some of the common disorders treated by a speech pathologist include:
Orofacial myofunctional disorders
This condition affects people from all age groups and causes the mouth and face to move erratically. The disorder occurs when the facial muscles and bones fail to grow or develop normally, and the actual cause is still unknown. People with orofacial myofunctional disorders may find it hard to talk, eat, swallow, drink, or breathe through the nose.
Speech sound disorders
Also called articulation disorder, this condition is particularly prevalent among young children. It makes it difficult to create certain sounds, leading to distortion. Children suffering from articulation disorder may pronounce “th” instead of the “s” sound.
Stuttering falls under fluency disorders, which can be presented in different ways. The person’s speech may be filled with “blocks,” seen in extended pauses, “repetitions” shown by repeating a syllable or sound in a word, or “prolongations” shown by elongating a sound when speaking. Stuttering is not necessarily recurrent and can worsen if the person is nervous or excited.
Those who stutter may experience anxiety and may avoid conditions or words that may cause the stuttering. They may also exhibit secondary physical traits like jaw tightening and extreme blinking.
People affected by this disorder may find it challenging to understand and process other people’s words, making it hard to follow instructions or speak properly. Conditions like autism can cause receptive disorders.
Resonance disorder is caused by obstruction or restriction of airflow in the mouth, nose, or throat, disturbing the vibration responsible for voice quality. Swollen tonsils and cleft palate are two conditions that contribute to this disorder.
Selective mutism is another common disorder treated by the speech pathologist. This condition is prevalent among children and teens and is indicated by the inability to talk or communicate properly in certain situations. Teenagers experiencing this condition may also have noticeable social phobias.
Dysarthria is a speech disorder resulting from brain damage such as traumatic or right hemisphere brain injury. This condition renders the muscles in the tongue, lips, mouth, or jaws too weak at articulating words.
Apraxia of speech
This condition is linked to the motor function required to produce speech, where the brain signals to create words fail to reach the muscles needed to create sounds. It is usually noticeable in speech rhythm, intonation, and stress.
Book an appointment with the speech therapist
A speech pathologist can help correct or stop these common speech disorders and others. Treatment options may include articulation exercises, speech therapy, and treating the underlying problem responsible for the condition.
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