Do memories of your school bullies mocking your stutter or lisp still haunt you? Well, now with the help of quality speech therapy you can put that behind you and bring down those nasty bullies with your hard hitting words. We all have weaknesses and we all have the options to conquer them. For those impaired with speech disorders, their remedy is as beyond the closest speech therapist’s doorstep. No doubt, no triumph comes easy, and curing a speech disorder does indeed demand dedication. However, regular sessions with language pathologists and audiologists can do wonders for you. Speech disorders inflict many with wilting confidence and morale. Families and friends must be supportive and loving towards those with vocal and speech disabilities to endow them with encouragement. Speech impediments stem from clumsy speech learning, vocal abuse, disorders elicited by mental problems and physical defects such as cleft palates (which require surgical correction). This article sheds light on the various speech disorders that affect several lives.
Different Kinds Of Speech Disorders
Various estimates reveal that one in every hundred people stammer, albeit in different ways. Stammers hinder efficiency of speech and can occur in three ways. A stammer can be identified by a specific sound that is prolonged before the completion of a word, when specific sounds are repeated or when fragments of speech are muted by short gaps of silence. Factors like fatigue, post-traumatic stress, fear of authorities, excitement, all contribute to stammering. Sufferers may find it difficult to express certain sounds and tend to keep repeating the same word unintentionally.
When sound production becomes a hassle, ‘spasmodic dysphonia’ is the underlying reason behind it. In this case, the muscles of the voice box or larynx start to move involuntarily. This is further divided into three types. Firstly, ‘adductor spasmodic dysphonia’ involuntarily slams the vocal chords together and cuts off some words. Secondly, ‘abductor spasmodic dysphonia’ is characterized when the vocal folds open involuntarily, allowing air to escape from the lungs resulting in a weak and whispery voice. Lastly, ‘mixed spasmodic dysphonia’ is a combination of both that results in either excess stammering or whispering.
Lisps are common amongst children struggling to produce sounds and recite words, but it can be dangerous if they linger on it. Also known as stigmatism, a lisp is classified into four parts. The first, ‘inderdental lisp’ occurs when the tongue pops in between the teeth during speech. Individuals here struggle to make an “s” or “z”, but fail miserably and muster out a “th” sound instead. ‘Dentalised lisps’, the second type occur when individuals put their tongues against their front teeth and push air outwards, resulting in muffled up pronunciations of several words. Third is 'lateral lisp', which refers to the wet sound, produced due air breaking away from the sides of the tongue making a slushy sound. The fourth, 'palatal lisp' occurs when the mid section of the tongue brushes against the soft palate. Lisp investigations and assignments are essential to cure lisps that persist beyond the age of five or so.
Selective mutism is a condition wherein an individual (usually a child) that speaks fluently otherwise turns mute in alternative settings. Many assume that the mute individual suffers from shyness or chooses to remain silent, but the concerned sufferer has an inability to speak in uncomfortable surroundings. It is universally considered an anxiety disorder and therapy sessions focus on lowering the child/individuals’ anxiety by boosting his or her self esteem. They must gently persuade them to explore and feel comfortable in newer environments.
Other Significant Types Of Speech Disorders
- ‘Organic lisping’ occurs due to physical defects such as a cleft palate while ‘neurotic lisping’ is brought about by mental disabilities.
- 'Dysphasia' affects one’s use of language and is caused by damage to the communication center in the brain. Apraxia too is a brain injury side-effect and renders a patient unable to express themselves correctly.
- A rare speech disorder, ‘dysprosody’ disrupts rhythm of the sufferers’ speech and is associated with the ‘foreign accent syndrome’.
- Individuals with ‘phonemic disorders’ have difficulty in distinguishing between “t”s or all “c”s and mispronounce them or make incorrect sound substitutions.
- ‘Orofacial myofunctional disorders’ (OMDs) directly affect swallowing, speech and growth of the face and mouth. The most common of these are “tongue thrusts” which disfigures the muscular and skeletal structure of the face.