Things To Know About Speech Disorders: How Can You Cope?

Woman In Speech Therapy

Our species has been given the unique gift of speech which is the medium of our communication. Through our understanding of speech, we have learned over time how to express our thoughts, knowledge, and emotions. Although, because speech involves various parts of our body at play, there also are speech disorders that result in impairment or difficulty in speech production. Due to these impairments, speech disorders cause inconvenience in conveying the correct message. Lets dive deep into the world of speech disorders, to have an awareness of how speech disorders occur and what are the ways to cope with them.

When the speech is disrupted and the efficiency of being able to speak is jeopardized, it might be because of various conditions. This can be because of a physical condition or also a neurological condition. Communication is a process that works 2 ways, where the feedback of the receiver determines if the message was clear or not. Speech disorders could impact the factors of communication including articulation, fluency, voice, and language development. Below are some common types of speech disorders explained:

1. Dysarthria:


Little girl suffering from Dysarthria


Speech disorders may be caused due to various reasons and one of them is categorized as motor speech disorders. Dysarthria falls under this category where the occurrence of speech disorder is due to damage in the muscles that make speech production possible. This condition directly affects the controlling of voice quality, mispronunciations, pitch variation, and such essentials of speech.

2. Apraxia:

Apraxia is a speech disorder that too falls under motor speech disorder. In this condition, there is a problem in the coordination of movements that produce the speech. Here, there are no muscle damages involved but the neural pathways that make sure the speech-motor planning happens right. People suffering from Apraxia have issues like distortion in speech and inconsistent communication style and incorrect sounds of the speech.

3. Articulation Disorders:

Articulation is the most important aspect of producing the correct speech. Articulation disorders simply mean that there could be difficulty in the sound of the speech or pronouncing words right. When you see someone who has speech disorders, if their speech is distorted, or they are omitting or substituting words, then know it might be an articulation disorder. 

4. Fluency Disorders:

Another type of speech disorder includes fluency disorder which is an inability to keep a fluent speech. There could be multiple interruptions in speech production like stutter, inconsistent speech, prolongations, and other such inconveniences. The process of speaking demands the attention of the listener which is lost when there are speech disorders. If the fluency of the speech is inconsistent, then that results in the loss of interest and attention of the listener.

5. Voice Disorders:

There are speech disorders that cause the most trouble for people to produce the right speech. Voice disorders are one such type that has to do with abnormalities in vocals. This causes variation in pitch, loudness, and especially voice quality. People suffering from laryngitis or vocal cord paralysis might face voice disorders. The tone, pitch, and other aspects of speech convey specific emotions and emphases that if not delivered right might confuse the listeners.

6. Language Disorders:


African-American little girl with book and alphabet letters


Apart from all the physical incapabilities and neurological issues, there also are speech disorders that have to do with the education of an individual. The lack of understanding of spoken or written language may cause language disorders. Here, the usage of words and their meaning are uncoordinated or misinterpreted, causing a gap in communication. These types of speech disorders are associated with a lack of learning or an authentic source of education about the language.


Causes and Risk Factors:

Speech disorders are caused because of numerous reasons from genetic factors to environmental influences. Understanding the cause of speech disorders can help diagnose a major issue and could help in finding out the correct cure for it in time. Some common factors contributing to speech disorders include:

1. Developmental Factors:

Developmental factors of speech disorders could be the ones that occur in the growing phase of the speech-producing muscles. Typically occurring in children which begin to be seen in adulthood are called developmental speech disorders. These can be caused by delayed language development, hearing impairments, or neurological conditions like autism spectrum disorder.

2. Physical Conditions:

Speech is the perfect coordination between the muscles and the brain that sends the signals to it. Conditions like hearing loss or cleft lip and palate come under the physical impairments that cause speech disorders. Due to these conditions, there could be unwanted issues with speech production like unclear and inaccurate speech. The speech disorders developed by the physical conditions are usually the most difficult to overcome that demand an exceptional effort on resolving the problems.

3. Trauma or Injury:

Speech disorders are also likely to happen because of brain trauma that might have been caused by injury. This trauma may have affected the structure of the face, impacting speech production. These traumas also become responsible for speech disorders that alter the function of speech. Damage to the brain's language centers or the nerves and muscles that contribute to speech lead to communication challenges. 

4. Environmental Factors:

Apart from the internal body issues, that lead to speech disorders, there are also these environmental factors like lack of language knowledge, less communication, or ignorant speech methods that interfere with the normality of speech. These factors can easily be overcome by the provision of the correct sources of filling the gaps.


Diagnosis and Treatment:

Once there is an understanding of what could be the cause of speech disorders and what type of speech disorders could it match with, the next important step is to get it diagnosed. This could be the turning point for anyone who has been struggling with speech disorders. The treatment procedure of speech therapy typically involves:

1. Evaluation:

The observation is the first step to any diagnosis which sets the parameters for evaluation. In the speech disorders case, there are speech-language pathologists who carry evaluations to assess speech production, language skills, fluency, and voice quality. They assess the patients to gather information about their conditions. This is a process that determines the reason for the speech disorders which is the prominent step in getting the impairment resolved.

2. Individualized Treatment:

The next step is to interpret the evaluations and routine the treatment for the individual patient. The specialists do in-depth research about the conditions that have been recorded during the assessments and find the perfect treatment that would cure it. The treatments could range from therapy to language intervention or fluency techniques and much more. A regularized routine in following these processes is the way to cure speech disorders.

3. Collaborative Approach:

At times the treatment might require other specialists to collaborate like psychologists, audiologists, or others. Here the speech specialists collectively work with these other specialists to accurately cater to the individual patients condition such that it brings the accurate cure in the quickest time possible. There are multiple fields of expertise involved in figuring out why speech disorders occurred, so having an expert diagnosis helps target the correct pain points of the problem.



Speech disorders can significantly impact an individual's ability to communicate and convey information correctly to the receivers. Knowing the reasons for the occurrence of these disorders and their treatments, the suffering people can find the cure at the right time. Speech-language pathologists and other professionals, individuals with speech disorders can navigate their communication challenges and lead fulfilling lives. Let us strive to build a society where everyone's voice is heard and valued, irrespective of their unique communication abilities.

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