Between 5 to 10 percent of U.S. Americans may struggle with disorders affecting their communications with others. That’s a possible total of 40 million people! Speech therapy helps people rebuild their skills after an injury, stroke, or the onset of Parkinson’s disease, or other neurological degenerative diseases. A speech therapist for adults helps improve language articulation and fluency, swallowing, and other issues. Understanding the nature of your speech disorder can help you with your progress in therapy. Your issue may be one of the five most common, discussed below.
Most Common Disorders Treated with Speech Therapy
The many speech and swallowing issues treated by speech therapy are due to various types of injuries, illnesses, and diseases. Here are five of the most common disorders for which a speech-language pathologist (SLP) can provide treatment.
Acquired Apraxia of speech is a neurologically originated motor speech disorder. That means there are problems in the brain’s ability to plan and sequence the necessary motor movements for speaking. People with this disorder struggle with frequent disconnects between what they want to say and the functionality to make the mouth execute the necessary movements to say the words.
The disorder can result from a degenerative condition like dementia or a neurological injury like CVA. Signs of verbal apraxia can include struggling to speak, various errors when trying to speak, and problems beginning words. People with apraxia also may try unsuccessfully to make a particular vocal sound correctly, omit sounds, and have other verbalization difficulties.
Aphasia is a neurological language disorder impacting the understanding and expression of language. Aphasia can be due to a stroke, brain tumor, traumatic brain injury, cerebrovascular accident, or other acquired neurological disorder. The various kinds of aphasia range in severity. Even a mild form of the disorder can negatively impact a person’s quality of life.
The most common forms are Global aphasia, Wernicke’s aphasia, and Broca’s aphasia. With some types, individuals have difficulty finding words while speaking, struggle with speech that is fragmented or have trouble understanding cross-talk in groups or people who are talking fast.
Dysphagia is difficulty swallowing fluid or food. If dysphagia persists over time it can be a severe medical problem. This condition is more often developed in older adults. Dysphagia can be caused by an injury, illness, disease, or other condition that damages, weaken, or otherwise impacts the nerves and muscles necessary for swallowing. Or, it can be caused by any issue that results in a narrowing of the esophagus or other area of the backside of the throat.
Esophageal dysphagia is a troubling sensation that food is caught or stuck at the bottom of the throat or in the chest while attempting to swallow. Oropharyngeal dysphagia is a problem making food go from the mouth to the throat and into the esophagus when attempting to swallow. People with dysphagia may have extreme difficulty swallowing, feel pain when swallowing, or experience coughing or gagging. They may experience food coming back up the throat, frequent heartburn, or stomach acid coming up into the throat.
Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder that occurs when the muscles required for speech are weak or uncoordinated due to brain damage. This neurologically-based speech disorder often follows a stroke, or the onset of ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, MS, or other diseases.
Dysarthria often impacts articulation, phonation, and even respiration, which makes it difficult for the individual to speak clearly and with enough volume to be well heard and understood. Speech may be mumbled, slurred, or excessively slow or fast. A person coping with dysarthria may have difficulty engaging with others to talk on the phone or in person due to others’ inability to understand what he or she is saying.
Fluency disorders are disruptions in the flow of speech. The conditions are characterized by unusual rates of speech, irregular speech rhythms, repetitions of syllables, sounds, words, and phrases, and other symptoms. Along with these, a person may exhibit avoidance of speaking, severe tension, and various unusual mannerisms when speaking. Stuttering and Cluttering are two of the most common fluency disorders. Both disorders usually originate in early childhood, and both can involve the general features of a fluency disorder.
Each disorder further involves its more specific kinds of speech issues. For example, stuttering involves often involves repeating syllables, sounds, or words, speech blocks, prolonged pauses between words or syllables. Eye blinking, jerking the jaw, and other involuntary movements sometimes accompany stuttering. Cluttering involves maze behaviors, collapsing or omitting word endings or other syllables, pragmatic and language construction issues, frequently shifting topics, and others. Stuttering appears to be caused by a combination of issues, potentially including neurophysiological, genetic, and environmental factors such as stress or anxiety. Cluttering may co-occur with autism or other disorders.
Co-occurring disorders for either stuttering or cluttering can include language or learning disability, attention-deficit/hyperactivity, autism, seizure disorders, social anxiety disorder, or other developmental disorders. People with a stuttering disorder often experience negative psychological and emotional effects, such as social anxiety, among others. Most children affected by stuttering recover without treatment. Even in adulthood, individuals with a cluttering disorder may not even be aware of their communication problems, which leaves the sometimes serious condition untreated.
Speech Therapy Techniques and Timelines
The therapeutic methods, techniques, intensity, and timelines for the completion of your program all depend on numerous factors. Your speech therapist will perform testing to acquire baseline data. This will help in clearly understanding your specific needs and goals, your medical history, your strengths and weaknesses, and other factors of your prognosis. Timelines are largely determined by the extent of your neurological injuries, your goals for your treatment, and the intensity of the therapy that you can accept and want to have.
NeurogeniCSS for Adult Speech and Swallowing Disorders
Neurogenics provides the solutions that the best speech therapists offer today's patients for speech, voice, and swallowing issues due to a vast range of causes. We offer speech therapy for adults in our comfortable treatment facility in Newtown, Pennsylvania. We use today’s state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic methodologies. In-clinic and teletherapy sessions are available. We accept most major health insurance types.