This is a motor speech disorder where the person has trouble saying what he / she wants to say correctly because of damage to parts of the brain related to speech. The severity can range from mild to severe depending on the damage.
Articulation disorders are when sounds are not pronounced correctly due to omitting, substituting, adding or distorting the intended sound/s. This can make speech difficult to understand.
Speech is impaired due to an inability to control and coordinate the muscles used for speech effectively. Usually speech is slow, slurred and imprecise and it is difficult to understand what the person is saying.
This is when the person shows a structural simplification of sound patterns due to difficulty in coordinating the vocal apparatus.
Speech is disrupted by repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables or words or unusually long stops (silences). Sometimes facial or body movements are associated with stuttering. This affects the fluency of speech and can make it very difficult to understand what the person is saying.
There is more than one type of voice disorder, but mainly a voice disorder can be defined as a alteration or change in someone’s voice to such an extent that it is perceived as being abnormal by the listener. Causes of voice disorders include medical disorders, vocal abuse, tension, degenerative diseases, growths or have no known cause.
Dysphagia is the term used to describe a swallowing difficulty. The person may also experience pain when trying to swallow, may be unable to swallow at all may only be able to certain consistencies. Often dysphagia makes it difficult to take in enough nutrients and fluids to maintain normal bodily functions.
Cleft lip and / or palate
This is a birth defect that occurs before the baby is born. The baby’s tissues in his / her mouth (and palate) and / or lip don’t form correctly during fetal development. It is treatable and can be surgically correctly within the first 12 – 18 months after birth. Clefts can occur in various areas and can affect only the lip or only the palate or both. It can usually be detected through a prenatal ultrasound depending on the place and severity of the cleft. A cleft can cause feeding problems and it is important that a multi-disciplinary approach are followed in the treatment of the patient.
Dementia is when more than one symptom is present due to disorders that affect the brain. The type of symptoms vary but may include the patient not being able to think clearly enough to perform everyday tasks, not being able to control emotions, seeing things that are not there, memory loss and becoming agitated. The patient’s personality may also change. Dementia can be caused by more than one disease, including a stroke.
A stroke is caused when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the brain or when a blood vessel breaks. This interrupts blood flow to the specific area in the brain causing brain cells to die and brain damage to occur. When brain cells die, the functions and abilities controlled by that specific part of the brain is lost. The severity of the symptoms depends on where the brain cells died and how much the brain was damaged.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
TBI is any damage to the brain due to injury, including a motor vehicle accident, a blow to the head or any other form of injury. Brain injuries do not heal like other injuries and the symptoms of brain injuries vary depending on the parts of the brain damaged and the severity of the injuries. TBI can affect a person’s whole life and also that of his / her family. It often happens that the person, who has TBI, does not realize that he / she has a injury and needs therapy.
Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC)
This includes all modes of communication other than speech that are used to express thoughts, feelings, ideas and needs. If using this type of communication as part of therapy, the person with severe speech or language impairments will rely on AAC to communicate, thereby replacing speech altogether or enhancing existing speech. AAC devices include pictures, symbols, communication boards and electronic devices. If a person is able to use speech, AAC will not replace it but only enhance it. AAC can be unaided (only using the body for communication) or aided (using alternative tools and equipment).