speech disorder

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the utterance of vocal sounds conveying ideas; the faculty of conveying thoughts and ideas by vocal sounds. The process is controlled through motor speech areas located in the frontal lobe of the brain.

The Mechanics of Speech. The voice originates in the larynx, which is in the upper end of the air passage to the lungs and is behind the thyroid cartilage. The larynx, in cooperation with the mouth, throat, trachea, and lungs, works on the same principle as musical instruments such as organs and oboes, in which air is forced over a thin reed to produce sound. The vocal cords, two reedlike bands, are attached at one end to the wall of the larynx behind the laryngeal prominence or “Adam's apple”; the other ends are attached to movable cartilages. When the voice is not being used, muscles move these cartilages outward and hold the vocal cords against the sides of the larynx so that breathing is not obstructed. When a person starts to speak, sing, grunt, or shout, the ends of the vocal cords connected to the cartilages are brought across the larynx, so that they partly obstruct it. As air is forced through, the cords vibrate, producing sound waves, which are what is known as the voice.

In speaking, the size and shape of the mouth and pharynx are varied as the sound goes through, by means of muscles of the mouth, throat, and tongue. Vowel sounds are initiated in the throat and are given their distinctive “shapes” by movements of the mouth and tongue. Consonants are formed by controlled interruptions of exhaled air.
Volume, Pitch, and Timbre. The voice itself has three characteristics: volume, pitch, and timbre (or quality). Volume depends on the effort made in forcing air through the vocal cords. The pitch of the voice depends on the amount of tension placed on the vocal cords, and on the length and thickness of the cords. Children's and women's vocal cords are short, giving them higher-pitched voices. A man's are longer and thicker and his voice is deeper. Timbre is affected by the size and shape of the individual's various resonating chambers (mouth, pharynx, chest, and others) and the way they are used. Bones in the head and chest also contribute to the quality of a voice. By long training in the use of the voice, singers are able to alter and control the mouth, throat, and chest cavities to produce a wide range of harmonics or overtones.
Speech Defects. Over 100 muscles are involved in the utterance of a simple word, and the construction of a simple sentence is a feat so complicated that it is beyond the capacity of any animal except the human being. The process of learning to talk is obviously a difficult task for children, and it is not surprising that 5 to 7 per cent of children reach adulthood with a serious speech disorder.

The baby learns to make specific sounds with the voice by babbling and cooing. Gradually he or she becomes able, more or less unconsciously, to put these sounds together to form intelligible speech in imitation of parents and other speakers in the environment. This complicated process is sometimes disturbed if the child has congenital physical defects, illness, or psychologic difficulties. As a result, speech disorders may occur.
Congenital Causes. Prominent among the congenital defects that may cause speech problems are cleft lip and cleft palate. These abnormalities are evident at birth and should be corrected by surgery at an early age. Another congenital defect is ankyloglossia (tongue-tie), abnormal shortness of the frenulum of the tongue. This condition, which if uncorrected may cause lisping and other awkwardness, is easily corrected by surgical cutting of the frenulum as soon as the difficulty becomes evident. Congenital deafness will prevent a child from learning to speak in the usual way and may result in mutism. However, if the speech mechanisms are normal, the child can be taught to speak by a speech therapist. Malformations of the nasal passages, larynx, or other parts of the voice-producing tract may cause oddities in the sound of the voice. Such defects also can be corrected in many cases by minor surgery.
Other Causes. By the age of 5 or 6 years most children have mastered the basic art of talking. Serious difficulties that persist or appear for the first time after this age, and that are not due to congenital defects, are likely to arise from illness, injury, or a psychologic disturbance. Damage to speech centers of the brain by multiple sclerosis, syphilis, or parkinson's disease, for example, may cause speech to be singsong, explosive, mechanical, or slurred. In such instances improvement of speech follows treatment of the basic disorder. Poor alignment of the front teeth also may interfere with proper speech. Speech defects of psychologic rather than physiologic origin include stammering and stuttering.
speech disorder defective ability to speak; it may be either psychogenic or neurogenic. See also aphasia, aphonia, dysphasia, and dysphonia. Called also lalopathy and logopathy.
esophageal speech speech produced by expelling swallowed air across one or more constrictions in the pharyngoesophageal segment; used after laryngectomy.
explosive speech loud, sudden enunciation, occurring in certain brain diseases.
speech and language in the omaha system, a client problem in the physiologic domain, defined as articulated vocal sounds, symbols, signs, or gestures used for communication.
mirror speech speech in which the order of syllables is reversed.
pressured speech logorrhea.
scanning speech speech in which syllables are separated by pauses.
telegraphic speech speech consisting of only certain prominent words, without others such as modifiers; it is typical of children around age two but in older persons it is a form of agrammatism.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

speech disorder

Articulation deficiency, dysfluency, speech disturbance, voice disorder Audiology Any of a group of defects in speech involving abnormal pitch, loudness, or quality of sound produced by the larynx Neurology A disorder of impaired or ineffective verbal communication not attributed to faulty innervation of speech muscles or organs of articulation–eg, language and learning disabilities Etiology Neural damage, paralysis, structural defects, hysteria, mental retardation, hearing impairment, ADD, learning disabilities, autism, schizophrenia, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, vocal cord injury, disorders of palate, cri-du-chat syndrome, Tourette syndrome See Amimia, Dyslexia. Cf Agraphia, Aphasia, Apraxia.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

speech disorder

Any abnormality that prevents a person from communicating through spoken words. The disorder may develop from brain injury, stroke, muscular paralysis of the organs of speech, structural defects of the mouth, teeth, or tongue, somatization disorders, or cognitive deficits.
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners

Patient discussion about speech disorder


A. How old are you now?
What are your interests?
Are you sure the problem getting a job is your speech and not the way to dress or present yourself?
What other jobs have you held in the past and what happened to them?
I can think of a few places I have run into people with speech problems, such as the cable man or a waitress at a local restaurant. Consider asking a speech therapist what kinds of jobs other people with your particular problem hold.

More discussions about speech disorder
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References in periodicals archive ?
'If our findings are confirmed in future work, it could mean that, rather than wait for children with developmental language disorder to show symptoms of poor mental health before intervening, mental health support is put in place as soon as language difficulties become apparent, as a preventative measure.'
"Adults who had speech and language disorders as children may hold lower-skilled jobs and are more likely to experience unemployment than other adults."
Results from a series of studies involving thousands of participants from birth to age 90 suggest that the brain's ability to process sound is influenced by everything from playing music and learning a new language to aging, language disorders and hearing loss.
A number of studies have also examined the prevalence of speech and language disorders in patients at speech and hearing university clinics.
"As awareness and understanding of dyslexia grows over the years, the need for professionals who are adequately trained in identification and remediation will rise," says Maureen Martin, director of the DuBard School for Language Disorders.
Key words: Language disorders, speech therapists, child, Pakistan, society, schools.
Language disorder (LD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM]-5th edition, American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013) and the conceptualization, classification and criteria for identifying it have been evolving through clinical practice and scientific literature.
Both instructors and practitioners, Mancinelli and Klein help speech-language pathology clinicians integrate theory and research into their practice by presenting 14 case studies using a model--the Acquired Language Disorders Target Model--that depicts an individual's language and cognition following a cerebrovascular accident or other neurological event.
At the recently held Special Education workshop for 130 special needs teachers in Abu Dhabi, titled 'Strategies for working with Speech and Language Disorders', teachers were taught various techniques on how to work with speech and language disorders, touching upon disorders such as articulation, language fluency and hearing impairment.
Neurological Music Therapy techniques such as Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT), Rhythmic Speech Cueing (RSC), Therapeutic Singing (TS) can be used with speech and language disorders such as apraxia, aphasia, fluency disorders (stuttering), and voice disorders.
He covers the definition and history of ADHD; a variety of causes; symptoms and signs; oppositional, conduct, and other comorbid disorders; related learning and language disorders; related neurological disorders like tics, Tourette syndrome, seizures, and headaches; medications; dietary and alternative therapies; prognosis and prevention; and the roles of different professional staff.
Their paper describes how, with the help of the Speaker Immersion Procedure, it is possible to establish speaker repertoire in children with language disorders. Dr.

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