328 W. Claiborne St.
P.O. Box 964
Monroeville, Alabama 36460
(251) 575-4203
     
Speech Problems
Basic Information

Speech Problems

Speech problems are known as Communication Disorders. Speech problems are often caused by problems with the body's nervous system. The problems between the brain and the nervous system affect the use of language, speech or communication.

  • Language is the words people speak, the signs they make, the words they write or pictures they use to share their thoughts and feelings with each other. These forms each have rules that allow people to share information in a way that makes sense to others that know that language. Language includes:
    • What words mean (for example, friend is someone you get along with and are close to, and enemy is the opposite)
    • How to make new words using different endings and beginnings (for example - help, helpful, unhelpful)
    • How to put words together in the right order (for example, "Alex played a new game yesterday" not "Alex play game new yesterday)
  • Speech is how ...

 
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What are Speech and Language Disorders?

Speech problems are known as Communication Disorders. Speech problems are often caused by problems with the body's nervous system. The problems between the brain and the nervous system affect the use of language, speech or communication.

  • Language is the words people speak, the signs they make, the words they write or pictures they use to share their thoughts and feelings with each other. These forms each have rules that allow people to share information in a way that makes sense to others that know that language. Language includes:
    • What words mean (for example, friend is someone you get along with and are close to, and enemy is the opposite)
    • How to make new words using different endings and beginnings (for example - help, helpful, unhelpful)
    • How to put words together in the right order (for example, "Alex played a new game yesterday" not "Alex play game new yesterday)
  • Speech is how a person makes the sounds that form words said out loud. This involves:
    • Learning to make the sounds of each letter. For example, children have to learn how to make the "r" sound (often a tricky one) so that they can say "rock" instead of "wock").
    • How to use your vocal cords and breath to make sounds
    • the correct rhythm of speech so that you don't pause or stutter in between or while saying words.
  • Communication is the use of language and speech to share thoughts, ideas or feelings with someone else. Examples include:
    • someone speaking English or Spanish or using sign language to ask someone for directions
    • writing a letter to a family member or friend to discuss plans for something they are doing together
    • posting on the Internet to talk to friends about a hobby or interest that you all share.

Disorders in this category include:

  • Language Disorder - involves problems with understanding or with putting words together to make sentences that share thoughts.
  • Speech Sound Disorder - involves trouble making the sounds needed to speak to others.
  • Childhood-Onset Fluency Disorder (better known as Stuttering) - involves problems in the timing of words that are said.
  • Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder - involves problems communicating with others. This might include not knowing how to greet others or talk to them, not taking turns when talking to someone, or not asking questions to understand what someone has said.
  • Unspecified Communication Disorders - the person has speech issues that cause them stress or that cause issues in school, work or relationships with others. But, their problems don't completely match any of the four speech and language disorders.

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What is Language Disorder?

  • Symptoms of this disorder include:
    • ongoing trouble in learning or using language including speaking, writing or sign language. The person has trouble understanding what others say or in communicating with them. This includes:
      • knowing words and how to use them - the child doesn't start first talking when expected or doesn't know as many words as they should for their age.
      • trouble putting words together into sentences that follow rules - the child's sentences are shorter and have grammar issues, such as the wrong tense of a verb. For example, "I goed to the store" instead of "I went to the store.")
      • problems in using words and sentences to say something or talk with someone else. Examples include trouble remembering words or numbers and then using "um" or "uh" while talking to cover it up. The child might have trouble telling a story that makes sense because they leave out, mix up or use the wrong words.
      • the child may have problems with talking to others, understanding what others are telling them, or both.
    • the child's language skills are a lot lower than what would be expected for their age and cause problems at school or in talking with others.
    • the symptoms first showed up when the child was 2 to 4 years-old.
    • the problems aren't because of hearing problems, intellectual disabilities, or other medical or brain conditions.
  • Up to 1 out of every 20 children has symptoms of a language disorder.
  • Those with a family member that have the disorder are much more likely to have it as well.
  • If a parent is worried about how a child's talks, they should start with the child's doctor first. The doctor may suggest that the family talk to a person who is trained to test and treat people with speech or language disorders (a speech-language pathologist).

For more information

What is Speech Sound Disorder?

  • Symptoms of this disorder include:
    • ongoing problems with being able to correctly make speech sounds (saying words correctly). These problems make it hard for others to understand them or stop them from being able to accurately share their thoughts.
    • these issues cause problems in school, in talking with others, or both.
    • the symptoms first showed up when the child was 2 to 4 years-old
    • the problems aren't because of conditions that have existed since they were born (congenital) or ones that they got after birth (acquired conditions), such as cerebral palsy, deafness or hearing loss, traumatic brain injury, or other medical or neurological (brain) conditions.
  • By the time a child is 3 years old, most will be able to understood by others, even though some words may not be said correctly yet. By age 8, most will be able to say the harder sounds including l, r, s, z, th, ch, dzh, and zh. If a child is having trouble with more than one of these sounds, then they may be diagnosed with Speech Sound Disorder.
  • With the assistance of speech therapy, most children will be able to overcome the issues and will not have the problems for their whole lives.
  • If a parent is worried about how a child's talks, they should start with the child's doctor first. The doctor may suggest that the family talk to a person who is trained to test and treat people with speech or language disorders (a speech-language pathologist).

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What is Childhood-Onset Fluency Disorder (Stuttering)?

  • Symptoms of this disorder include:
    • problems in the timing patterns of saying words that would not be expected based on the child's age. These issues continue over time and are characterized by:
      • sound and syllable repetitions (the person sounds like they got stuck on a word or part of a word and are repeating it over and over such as "W-W-W-W-Where are we going today?")
      • making consonants or vowels in words longer than they should be (saying "ssssstop" instead of "stop" with firm/single "s" at the beginning)
      • broken words (pauses within a single word such as "st---op")
      • using other words to avoid using one that they have trouble saying or inserting words like "um" or "uh" into the sentence in order to try to make the delay between words less noticeable.
      • repeating single syllable whole words (for example, "I-I-I-I-I want to go to the store.")
    • these issues cause problems in school, in talking with others, or both.
    • the symptoms first showed up when the child was 2 to 4 years-old
    • the problems are happening because of speech-motor disorder, conditions that affected the person's brain, such as a stroke, tumor or trauma, or any other medical condition.
  • 80-90% of children that have problems with stuttering will have issues by the time they are 6 years old. The problems usually start between ages 2 and 7.
  • Research has found that 65-85% of children who have stuttering problems can overcome the issue. If the child is still showing severe symptoms at about age 8, then problems could continue when they are a teen or adult.
  • If a child has a parent, brother or sister with the disorder, they are 3 times more likely to have issues than other children.
  • If a parent is worried about how a child's stuttering, they should start with the child's doctor first. The doctor may suggest that the family talk to a person who is trained to test and treat people with speech or language disorders (a speech-language pathologist).

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What is Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder?

  • Symptoms of this disorder include:
    • ongoing problems in the using verbal and nonverbal communication (words and actions) in social ways with others including:
      • problems in greeting others (not knowing to wave to them to say hello or goodbye, pointing to others, etc.)
      • having trouble adjusting how you talk to different people. For example, knowing that you should talk in a more formal way in a classroom to your teacher compared to outside on the playground with a friend.
      • having problems following accepted rules for conversations like taking turns when talking or asking questions if you don't know what someone is trying to say.
      • problems drawing conclusions from what someone said (understanding things that they don't actually say)
      • not understanding with more descriptive phrases. For example, not knowing that someone saying "he is the apple of my eye" really means "he is special to me" or your friend saying "a penny for your thoughts" means she is asking what you are thinking.
    • these issues cause problems in school, in talking with others, or both.
    • the symptoms first showed up when the child was 2 to 4 years-old, but the problems may not become noticeable until later on when talking to others requires more advanced speaking skills.
    • the problems are not happening because of another condition such as autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities, global developmental delay, or any other medical or brain condition.
  • By the time a child is 4 or 5 years old, they should be able to have conversations with other people. If they are having problems at this time, then they may be diagnosed with Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder.
  • Some children with the condition are able to improve their communication skills, but others may continue to have issues as an adult. Those that do improve may still have some issues in relationships with others or with learning related skills, such as writing down their thoughts.
  • Children with this disorder often also have autism spectrum disorder, specific learning disorder, and other communication disorders.
  • If a parent is worried about how a child's talks, they should start with the child's doctor first. The doctor may suggest that the family talk to a person who is trained to test and treat people with speech or language disorders (a speech-language pathologist).

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328 W. Claiborne St.
P.O. Box 964
Monroeville,
Alabama 36460
Tel: (251)575-4203
Fax:(251)575-9459


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