What are speech and language disorders? Speech and language disorders cause a person to have difficultly in one or more of the following:
In a nutshell, a person would have difficulty in the area of communication. These disorders can occur due to a wide variety of underlying causes, and may range from a few errors when producing sound to a full inability to use speech or language to communicate effectively.
How can a Speech-Language pathologist help individuals with speech and language disorders? The speech-language pathologist addresses the disorders through assessments and draws up an appropriate individualised intervention program. Treatment would depend on:
- the nature and severity of the problem
- the age of the indivudual
- the individual's awareness of the problem
In general, the speech-language pathologist helps individuals with:
- articulation disorders to produce speech sounds correctly
- stuttering difficulties to increase their fluency
- language disorders to improve language comprehension and production
- aphasia to improve on all areas of language, namely comprehension of speech and reading and production of spoken and written language
- voice disorders to develop better control of the vocal and respiratory systems in order for them to obtain the correct voice production
- severe communication disorders by introducing the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems
In addition to the assessment and intervention of speech and language disorders, the speech-language pathologist also addresses:
- Cognitive-communication disorders - namely attention, memory, abstract reasoning, awareness and executive funcions (e.g. self-monitoring, planning and problem solving).
- Auditory processing disorders - the inability to understand spoken language when no hearing problem is present.
- Swallowing disorders.