When a patient is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, he or she has a speech disorder. A speech order could result from incorrect speech or language models during language acquisition, hearing loss, dental problems, or physical handicaps like cerebral palsy and cleft palate. At Superior Home Health, we have speech therapists on staff who treat speech and swallowing disorders. We present an individually designed treatment program that will maximize communication for our patients. Here are some of the most common speech and swallowing disorders that benefit from speech therapy.
One of the most common types of speech disorders involves difficulty in articulating certain sounds, such as the “s” sound, or difficulty in articulating certain words to the point that listeners cannot understand what it being said. An articulation disorder might also involve omitting certain sounds or substituting certain sounds for others.
One example of a fluency disorder is stuttering. A fluency disorder involves abnormal stoppages, repetitions, or prolongations in the flow of speech. A person with a fluency disorder might, for example, prolong the “s” sound at the beginnings of words, or repeat the first “st” sound at the beginning of st- words.
Resonance or voice disorders
Sometimes a patient faces difficulties with pitch, volume, or voice quality, and this can often be traced to dysfunction of the larynx. A resonance disorder will affect airflow and in turn how (and for how long) sounds are articulated. A patient, for example, might speak too quietly or speak in only short utterances due to loss of air through the nose. Disorders of this type can affect how (or whether) listeners understand what is being said, and it can also cause discomfort in the patient.
A swallowing disorder, also called dysphagia, is when a patient has difficulty swallowing and usually results from a problem with the throat or esophagus. A swallowing disorder can occur at any phase of the swallowing process—oral, pharyngeal, or esophageal. At the oral phase, there is difficulty chewing, sucking, or moving food from the mouth into the throat; at the pharyngeal phase, there is difficulty starting the swallowing reflex, closing off the airway, or squeezing food down the throat; and at the esophageal phase, there is difficulty relaxing and tightening the openings of the esophagus. A swallowing disorder is not in itself a speech disorder, but a speech therapist can recommend certain exercises for strengthening and coordinating the swallowing muscles, or for stimulating the nerves associated with swallowing.