Does your child seem to have difficulty producing certain sounds?

Do you find you have trouble speaking in certain social situations?

Are you recovering from a stroke or traumatic brain injury, and found it has affected the way you speak?

Each of these, and more, are signs of a speech sound disorder, also known as an articulation disorder.

There is a wide range of different speech sound disorders, but what they have in common is difficulty with producing speech sounds, creating intelligible speech, or being understood.

Here At Voz Speech Therapy, we can help. One of our speech therapy specialties is in treating speech sound disorders.

Read on below to find out more about the different speech sound disorders there are, and how a speech therapist for adults or children can help.

Speech Therapy For Dysarthria In Children & Adults

Dysarthria is an issue with the muscles we use to speak. This can be an issue with the muscles in your lips, throat, tongue, generally in your face, or all of the above.

The result of this is difficulty with speaking. In milder cases, it’s just a matter of being unable to make certain sounds. But in more severe cases, it can present major roadblocks to your ability to communicate.

Symptoms of dysarthria may include:

  • Sounding choppy
  • Sounding robotic
  • Having a hoarse or breathy voice
  • Having slurred speech
  • Mumbling
  • Speaking too quickly
  • Having an overly nasal-sounding voice

Dysarthria has a number of different causes. It can be a congenital condition, or it can be a result of a neurological condition or injury that affects the brain, like:

  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • A brain tumor
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Multiple sclerosis

A speech therapist for children or adults can help. Depending on the severity of your dysarthria and its symptoms, your speech therapist may work with you to:

  • Speak louder
  • Strengthen your speech muscles
  • Learn to coordinate your tongue and lips
  • Pronounce words more clearly
  • Use alternative ways to communicate
  • Speak at a more natural pace

Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today to find out more.

Speech Therapy For Articulation & Phonological Disorders In Children & Adults

Articulation disorders are speech sound disorders that interfere with the motor production of speech sounds. This includes things like distortions in speech, substitutions, and omissions.

On the other hand, phonological disorders relate to the linguistic aspects of issues with speech. They tend to be more predictable, based on typical and atypical error patterns.

Because it’s difficult to differentiate between the two, they are often grouped together.

There is a number of different ways articulation and phonological disorders can manifest, including:

  • Additions, where additional and unnecessary sounds are added to a word
  • Deletions, where certain sounds are removed from a word altogether.
  • Distortions, where sounds are altered in a way that makes them more difficult to understand
  • Substitutions, where certain sounds are swapped for others
  • Syllabic errors, where certain syllables are deleted

In some cases, this is a result of an accent or dialect. These are not speech sound disorders, but just a difference in speech patterns. However, when that’s not the case, it can indicate a speech sound disorder.

Speech therapy can help.

Speech therapy for articulation disorders is designed to listen to you or your child’s speech patterns to find each instance where there are errors, and use speech therapy interventions to correct them.

Meanwhile, speech therapy for phonological disorders focuses on discovering the patterns behind your or your child’s speech errors and correcting them.

In many cases, articulation and phonological disorders can be reduced or even eliminated entirely through speech therapy treatments for children or adults.

Is It A Speech Disorder Or Just Baby Talk?

We don’t expect children to be reading the newspaper or reciting Shakespeare right away. As children grow, their speech and language skills grow with them, and there are certain milestones they should be expected to meet.

We measure these milestones by intelligibility. That’s the percentage of words your child says that are understandable to a stranger.

Broadly speaking, by age 2, your child should be between 25-50% intelligible.

By age 3 they should reach 75% intelligibility, and by age 4 they should reach 90%

Once they reach age 5 their intelligibility should be 100%. They might still mispronounce things here and there, but they should have no problem being understood at this point.

If they haven’t met these milestones, it could be a result of a speech sound disorder.

Book your appointment today with Voz Speech Therapy to find out more.

Speech Therapy For Selective Mutism In Children & Adults

Selective mutism is a condition where you or your child is unable to speak in certain situations. These often tend to be social situations, but not always. This disorder generally affects children, but without treatment, it often persists into adulthood.

People with selective mutism generally have no trouble speaking and communicating with people they know well. However, certain social situations can trigger a freeze response. It’s important to note that with selective mutism, it’s not a matter of refusing to speak – they are physically incapable of doing so.

Signs of selective mutism usually show up around the time they begin to interact with people outside of their immediate family. This may include daycare, school, or general playgroup meetups. They include:

  • Nervousness
  • Showing unease in social situations
  • Acting rude or disinterested
  • Being unusually clingy to people they are familiar with
  • Acting shy or withdrawn
  • Acting aggressive
  • Throwing temper tantrums
  • Responding with gestures more often than words
  • Responding with whispers

In some cases, the above symptoms may show up more acutely in situations of high sensory input, like where there is loud music or being in a big crowd.

Speech therapy can help.

By helping you or your child to anticipate the types of situations that might trigger their selective mutism, and providing coping techniques, your speech therapist can help to reduce its effect. As well, by confronting the types of situations that might trigger yours or your child’s selective mutism and learning how to cope with them, they can learn to manage their condition.

Whether you are an adult who struggles with selective mutism, or you have a child whom you suspect is struggling with it, we can help.

Book your appointment today with Voz Speech Therapy to find out how.

Speech Therapy For Apraxia Of Speech In Children & Adults

There are two different types of apraxia of speech – childhood apraxia of speech, and acquired apraxia of speech. They both have similar symptoms, but the causes are different.

With apraxia of speech, the brain struggles to coordinate the muscles necessary to make the sounds it needs to in relation to speaking. It’s not an issue with the muscles involved with speech, like with dysarthria. Instead, it’s an issue with a part of the brain that controls the movement of these muscles.

With childhood apraxia of speech, it may be a result of a brain injury or a genetic disorder, but in most cases it’s difficult to pinpoint a single cause.

Signs that your child may have childhood apraxia of speech include:

  • Using vowels incorrectly
  • Stressing the wrong syllable in a word
  • Difficulty moving smoothly from one sound to another
  • Difficulty imitating words that others say
  • Making speech errors inconsistently
  • Making strange groping movements with their jaw, tongue, or lips as they speak

There are other signs of childhood apraxia of speech as well, but they are also common in other speech disorders, so it’s not very useful as a way to diagnose childhood apraxia of speech. That said, if your child has some of the above symptoms, as well as the ones listed below, it may be a case of childhood apraxia of speech:

  • Not babbling much as an infant
  • Beginning to speak late
  • Being able to use only a few consonants and vowels
  • Frequently omitting certain sounds
  • Being difficult to comprehend

On the other hand, acquired apraxia of speech is generally caused by some sort of illness or injury to the brain. This can include things like a stroke, a brain tumor, or a traumatic brain injury.

If you or a loved one has experienced one of these events, it may be worth noting how your speech and communication abilities have changed. Symptoms of acquired apraxia of speech may include:

  • Having trouble making certain sounds
  • Using the wrong words for the circumstance, for example using the word crossword instead of password
  • Speaking more slowly
  • Being able to say common phrases without issue
  • Saying things incorrectly in certain cases, end correctly in others
  • Not being able to make any sounds at all

In both cases, speech therapy treatments for apraxia of speech focus on teaching you or your child how to get your speech muscles to move correctly. If necessary, your speech therapist may recommend using other methods of communication, like using hand gestures, using a computer system to communicate, learning sign language, or other forms of augmentative and alternative communication.

If you or your child is dealing with apraxia of speech, we can help.

Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today to find out how.

Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today

If you or your child is dealing with a speech sound disorder, there is help.

While speech therapy early intervention tends to get the best results in treating these disorders, if you are an adult, speech therapy can still help.

Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today to find out how.

Discover how to free your voice

 and communicate clearly.

Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today.