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Overview of Speech Disorders

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)
CAS is a motor speech disorder, whereby children have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements in the lips, jaw and tongue, necessary to say those words.

Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder which affects children as well as adults. The muscles of the mouth, face, and respiratory system may become weak, move slowly, or not move at all after a stroke or other brain injury. The type and severity depend on which area of the nervous system is affected.  Some causes include stroke, head injury, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy.

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD)
With OMD, the tongue moves forward in an exaggerated way during speech and/or swallowing. The tongue may lie too far forward during rest or may protrude between the upper and lower teeth during speech and swallowing, and at rest.

Speech Sound Disorders (Articulation and Phonological Processes)  
Most children make some mistakes as they learn to say new words. A speech sound disorder occurs when mistakes continue past a certain age. Every sound has a different range of ages when the child should make the sound correctly. Speech sound disorders include problems with articulation (making sounds) and phonological processes (sound patterns).

Stuttering affects the fluency of speech. It begins during childhood and, in some cases, lasts throughout life. The disorder is characterized by disruptions in the production of speech sounds, also called "disfluencies." Most people produce brief disfluencies from time to time. For instance, some words are repeated and others are preceded by "um" or "uh." Disfluencies are not necessarily a problem; however, they can impede communication when a person produces too many of them.

In most cases, stuttering has an impact on at least some daily activities. The specific activities that a person finds challenging to perform vary across individuals. For some people, communication difficulties only happen during specific activities, for example, talking on the telephone or talking before large groups. For most others, however, communication difficulties occur across a number of activities at home, school, or work. Some people may limit their participation in certain activities. Such "participation restrictions" often occur because the person is concerned about how others might react to disfluent speech. Other people may try to hide their disfluent speech from others by rearranging the words in their sentence (circumlocution), pretending to forget what they wanted to say, or declining to speak. Other people may find that they are excluded from participating in certain activities because of stuttering. Clearly, the impact of stuttering on daily life can be affected by how the person and others react to the disorder.

Voice Disorders
Poor quality of voice, including hoarseness, nasality, volume (too loud or soft) may impede normal speech and language development.

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