Speech Disorders

Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder that results from impaired movement of the muscles used for speech production, including the lips, tongue, vocal folds, and/or diaphragm. The type and severity of dysarthria depends on which area of the nervous system is affected. Cases can be very subtle after a neurological insult. Many times the patient isn’t even aware of it. In some cases it will be more obvious during a physical activity or during physical and occupational therapy. The patient may be easily fatigued resulting in shortness of breath, their speech may become slurred at the end of sentences and/or their voice may trail off due to poor diaphragmatic strength or control.

Apraxia / Dyspraxia is a neurological disorder that can affect planning of movements and co-ordination as a result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to the body.

Verbal Dyspraxia refers to difficulty in making and coordinating the precise articulatory movements required in the production of clear speech.

Oral Dyspraxia refers to difficulties in making and coordinating movements of the vocal tract (larynx, lips, tongue, palate) in the absence of speech.

These features are consistent with deficits in the planning and programming of movements for speech and are noted to increase with greater syllable length and motoric complexity. Dyspraxia can affect oral motor control, breath support for speech, articulation, rate, prosody and fluency.

Speech Disorders

What are the symptoms of a  Speech Disorder?

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Slurred, choppy or mumbled speech

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Unintelligible speech

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Slow or labored rate of speech

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Rapid rate of speech resulting in “mumbling”

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Limited tongue, lip, and jaw movement

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Abnormal pitch when speaking

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Abnormal rhythm when speaking

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Changes in voice quality (hoarse, breathy voice, nasal or stuffy)

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Shortness of breath while speaking

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Slurred speech and feelings of “running out of air” when speaking

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Problems with controlling loudness or volume of voice

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Speaking too softly

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Drooling or poor control of saliva

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Speech becomes affected when one is tired or fatigued