Speech & Language Disorders

What is a Speech Disorder?

Speech disorders typically affect the vocal cords, muscles, nerves and other structures within the mouth and throat. It affects the way a person creates sounds to form words. A relatively common speech disorder is called “stuttering” whilst other speech disorders includes apraxia and dysarthria.

In some cases children with speech disorders are fully aware of what they would like to say but they are unable to articulate their thoughts and intensive early intervention or early treatment can correct these conditions over time.

What is a Language Disorder?

Language disorders is a communication disorder in which a person has difficulties with learning and using various forms of language (I.e. spoken, written and/or sign language).

Children with language disorder have language abilities that are significantly below those expected for their age, which limits their ability to communicate or effectively participate in many social, academic, or professional environments. Again intensive early intervention and therapy can help the child overcome many off their language and communication difficulties.

What can be the cause of a speech disorder or language disorder?

There are a wide variety of reason a c n hild can struggle with speech and language and it is important for parent to know what all the potential causes can be…

Having a speech disorders could mean that your child’s vocal cord, muscles, nerves and/or other structures within their throat are affected and the causes for this may include:

  • Brain damage
  • Muscles weakness
  • Respiratory weakness
  • Stroke
  • Polyps or nodules on the vocal cords
  • Vocal cord paralysis; or
  • Vocal cord damage

However children with development conditions may also have speech disorders. Common conditions that can lead to speech disorders in children include:

  • ADHD/ADD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  • ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)
  • Huntington’s disease
  • ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Also knows as Lou Gehrig’s disease

Oral impairment, like a problems with the tongue or palate (the roof of the mouth) or a short frenulum (the fold beneath the tongue) can be another reason for the delay in speech.

It has been widely researched and documented that many children with speech delays have oral motor problem which basically means that the child has a problem in the area of the brain responsible for speech.

Lastly (and only the easiest one to eliminate) is hearing problems. An Audiologist will be able to rule out hearing difficulties as a cause of speech delays and/or when a child has trouble saying, understanding, imitating or using language.

What is the difference between Dyspraxia and Apraxia

Research indicates that the American Speech Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) prefers that speech-language-pathologists (SLP’s) refers to this speech conditions as CAS (Childhood Apraxia of Speech),but other types of health professionals may be more likely to use the term verbal dyspraxia, and the reason for this is because it’s mentioned in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-5).

The DSM-5 lists verbal dyspraxia as another name for speech sound disorders.

Children diagnosed with verbal dyspraxia may have difficulty with the speed, accuracy and timing of movement sequences that are required to produce speech and for this reason the verbal dyspraxia will lead to speech development delays.

So whilst “verbal dyspraxia” is a speech disorder that can start to show when a child is learning to speak – verbal dyspraxia can be referred to as:

  • Dyspraxia
  • Development Verbal Dyspraxia (DVD)
  • Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)
  • Developmental apraxia of speech

So basically a child with verbal dyspraxia has difficulty planning and coordinating their movement of muscles used (e.g. tongue, lips, jaw, palate) to produce the right speech sounds or words.

Have questions for us? Complete the form below.

Error: Contact form not found.