According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) approximately 1 in 12 children from the ages of 3 through 17 have had a disorder related to language or speech in the past year.
In addition, 7.6% of adults have experienced an issue with their voice in the same time period.
That’s to say, disorders related to speech and language are not rare, and chances are you know someone who has struggled with these issues.
If you or your child is dealing with a speech disorder, it’s important to know you’re not alone, and speech therapy for stuttering and other disorders is available.
Keep reading as we take a look at some of the most common speech disorders in the United States.
What Is A Speech Disorder?
When an individual has difficulty forming sounds of speech required to communicate, this is a speech disorder.
Oftentimes, people who have a speech disorder will know what they want to say, however they have difficulty articulating those thoughts.
Next, we will take a look at some common speech disorders.
If you ask most people to think of an example of a speech disorder, stuttering is probably one of the first ones many will think of.
It’s characterized by the repetition of words, sounds, or syllables, speech interruptions known as blocks, and prolonging sounds.
People who stutter know what they want to say, but have difficulty producing speech.
One of the most common types of speech disorders, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimates that approximately 3 million Americans stutter.
Stuttering often first becomes obvious when a child is first learning to speak, and roughly 75 percent of children who develop a stutter will outgrow it eventually.
Cluttering is a fluency disorder, identified by speech which is rapid or jerky and contains large amounts of interruptions such as “like”, “hmm”, and “um”.
Additionally, it often has exclusion or collapsing of syllables and an abnormal rhythm of speech.
Signs of cluttering generally first show up in childhood and can be improved with early intervention from a speech language pathologist.
3. Issues Related To Autism Spectrum Disorder
Although autism spectrum disorder in and of itself is not a speech disorder, all children with autism experience issues related to social communication.
The Centers for Disease control estimate approximately one in 68 children have autism spectrum disorder, and issues with speech and communication are often one of the first signs of this.
One of the most common speech disorders associated with the autism spectrum is apraxia of speech, which is when they have difficulty with the coordination required to create sounds and syllables.
Other notable speech disorders which are often linked to autism spectrum disorder include repetition, unusual inflection, and muteness.
Like stuttering, lisping is very common and easily recognized.
The most common type of lisp the “interdental” lisp, which is when the speaker creates a “th” sound when attempting to make an “s” sound.
A study in the Journal of Communication Disorders found approximately 23% of young adults studied spoke with a lisp, and found no significant differences between male and female participants.
Aphasia is a disorder which is caused when there is damage to the brain’s language capacity.
It commonly appears in individuals who have suffered from a stroke but can also occur after traumatic brain injury, degenerative brain disease, or a brain tumor.
This disorder doesn’t just affect speech, but also the ability to understand both verbal and written language.
According to the National Aphasia Association there are approximately two million people in the United States with aphasia.
Dysarthria presents as slowed, slurred speech, abnormal rhythm when speaking, limited jaw and tongue movement, labored speech, and difficulty articulating.
It’s a result of damage to the muscles or nerves used for speaking, including the lips, tongue, vocal chords, and diaphragm.
Individuals of all ages can be affected by dysarthria; in younger individuals, it is often linked to conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy and in adults, it often appears following a stroke or brain tumor.
Selective mutism is a condition where someone is capable of speech, however, only speaks in certain situations.
An example is a child who only speaks at home, but not at school.
It’s common in children who suffer from social anxiety or are extremely shy.
The American Speech Language Hearing Association estimates selective mutism occurs in approximately 0.5% of kids.
8. Apraxia Of Speech
Apraxia of speech (AOS) is a condition where there is a disconnect in the neural pathway between the brain and muscles responsible for speech.
Although the individual knows what they want to say, the brain can’t send the messages to the mouth needed in order for them to actually speak.
There is very little data available on AOS, however it’s estimated by Nationwide Children’s Hospital to affect 0.1-1% of children.
9. Spasmodic Dysphonia
Spasmodic dysphonia is distinguished by vocal chord spasms when an individual tries to speak.
The result is a shaky, groaning, or jittery quality to the voice.
It generally appears in adults between the ages of 30 and 50 and is linked to changes related to ageing including muscle tone disorders.
10. Issues Related To Cleft Palate
A Cleft palate is a condition which affects the soft palate towards the back of the throat.
In individuals with cleft palate, the mouth is not closed off from the nose when speaking, and this can lead to air escaping from the nose.
The result is often speech which sounds nasal.
Book An Appointment With District Speech
Is your child showing signs of a speech disorder?
Do you want to be proactive in having an assessment done so you can determine what interventions may be needed in order to support them in their speech development?
We’re District Speech, serving Washington DC and area, and we can help.
Contact us today for more information or to set up an appointment.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.