Many people may recognize one or two types of speech disorders, but speech therapists actually treat a wide range of issues. Disorders can range from mild to severe. Some are present at birth, while others develop over time. Some are part of a neurological function, while others stem from injury or disability.
Regardless of how the disorder occurred, speech therapy can contribute to an improved quality of life for many patients.
10 Common Types of Speech Disorders
There are many types of disorders within various categories, and each person’s condition may be different. Following are some of the most common speech disorders that speech therapists treat.
1. Childhood Apraxia of Speech
With childhood apraxia of speech, a child has trouble making accurate movements when speaking. It occurs because the brain has difficulty coordinating the movements.
2. Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders
Children, teenagers, and adults may suffer from these abnormal movement patterns of the face and mouth. They occur due to an abnormal growth and development of facial muscles and bones, the cause of which is unclear. Individuals with orofacial myofunctional disorders may have trouble eating, talking, breathing through the nose, swallowing, or drinking.
3. Speech Sound Disorders/Articulation Disorders
Especially common in young children, articulation disorders are based on the inability to form certain sounds. Instead, certain words and sounds may be distorted, such as making the “th” sound in place of an “s” sound.
4. Stuttering and Other Fluency Disorders
Stuttering can come in a number of forms, including “blocks” characterized by long pauses, “prolongations” characterized by stretching out a sound, and “repetitions” characterized by repeating a particular sound in a word. Stuttering is not always a constant, and it can be exacerbated by nervousness or excitement.
Individuals who stutter may feel tenseness in their bodies and may even avoid situations or words that may trigger their stuttering. Secondary physical behaviors may include excessive eye blinking or jaw tightening.
5. Receptive Disorders
Receptive disorders are characterized by trouble understanding and processing what others say, causing trouble following directions or a limited vocabulary. Disorders such as autism can lead to receptive disorders.
6. Autism-Related Speech Disorders
Communication concerns are one aspect of autism spectrum disorder, which involves challenges with social skills and repetitive behaviors. An individual with autism may have difficulty understanding and using words, learning to read or write, or having conversations.
He or she may also be hard to understand, use a robotic voice, and speak very little or not at all.
7. Resonance Disorders
Resonance disorders occur due to a blockage or obstruction of airflow in the nose, mouth, or throat, which may affect the vibrations that determine voice quality. Cleft palate and swollen tonsils are two causes of resonance disorders.
8. Selective Mutism
Most often seen in children and teens, selective mutism is an anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s inability to speak and communicate effectively in select social settings. Teenagers who experience selective mutism may have more pronounced social phobias.
9. Brain Injury-Related Speech Disorders/Dysarthria
Dysarthria occurs when the muscles in the lips, mouth, tongue, or jaws are too weak to properly form words, usually due to brain damage. These include traumatic brain injury and right hemisphere brain injury.
10. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms
ADHD makes it hard for individuals to pay attention and control their own behavior, leading to various problems with communication. Although not everyone with ADD has the hyperactivity aspect of the disorder, those who do may have trouble sitting still as well. A speech and language pathologist can help improve the communication aspect of ADHD.
Get Help from a Speech Therapist
Therapists can help reduce or eliminate these types of speech disorders, along with many others. Treatments typically involve articulation exercises as well as treating underlying conditions that may be causing the problems.
Speech therapy is among the many types of mental and physical therapy options at Insight, located in Flint, Michigan. Visit our website to learn more about the Comprehensive Therapy division of Insight.