There are many reasons why you might have a speech or language problem. Some problems start in childhood. Others happen after an illness or injury. Speech-language pathologists, or SLPs, can help.
When children have trouble speaking or using language, they may see an SLP. SLPs also help children who have balance problems or trouble swallowing—or feeding themselves as infants. But adults often see SLPs, too. For example, SLPs work with stroke survivors to improve swallowing and speech. They work with people who have Parkinson’s disease to improve voice quality and loudness and to speak more clearly.
Speech and language problems may be the result of a stroke, brain injury, hearing loss, developmental delay, a learning disability, a drug taken for another medical problem, or a mental health problem such as aphasia caused by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The good news is that with therapy most people can improve their ability to communicate.
Language disorders. Problems understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely (expressive language). This may include difficulty with speaking in sentences, difficulty following directions, difficulty with learning concepts (colors, numbers, time), difficulty with reasoning and problem solving, poor vocabulary for age level and knowledge base, and difficulty putting words together to communicate wants and needs clearly.
A language problem is when you have trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language). You may also have problems with social communication. If you think you might have a speech or language problem, see an SLP. An SLP can help figure out what the problem is and how to treat it.
Articulation disorders refer to the way that people produce sounds. For instance, some people may have trouble with /s/ or /z/. Others may have trouble with /r/. People who have a problem with articulation can be hard to understand.
Fluency disorders involve things like stuttering and cluttering. Stuttering generally refers to disruptions in the flow of speech, like repeating sounds or words. Cluttering includes things like rushing through speech so that others can’t understand what’s being said.
Language disorders refer to more than just the words we use, though those are important too! They include things like speaking in complete sentences and using the right word order. They also include understanding what other people say, as well as reading and writing.
If you’re having trouble with your speech or language skills, you may want to consider seeing a speech-language pathologist (SLP). SLPs can help you identify your specific problem and develop strategies for improving it. You can find an SLP at a hospital, clinic, or private practice near you.
SLPs know how to treat people with speech and language problems. They can also tell if a problem is getting worse over time. SLPs use this knowledge to create treatment programs that make it easier for you to talk and be understood by others.
SLPs work with people who have trouble producing speech sounds, or who have problems with their voice, such as inappropriate pitch or harsh vocal quality. They help people learn to communicate more effectively. This may include improving the clarity of speech, teaching alternative ways of communication (such as using pictures), and helping people understand what others are saying. Speech is how you use your voice to say sounds and words. Problems with speech might include: stuttering, sounding too quiet, sounding too fast, sounding too nasally (like your nose is stuffed up),sounding too breathy (like there’s not enough air in your vocal cords),slurring words, leaving out sounds or words, using the wrong sounds for words (such as “wabbit” instead of “rabbit”),not being able to think of the word you want to say, making the sound for one word with another word (“saying “pake” instead of “cake”).