Types Of Speech Impairments

Children With Developmental Challenges 3(2+1)

Lesson 26 : Communication and Speech Disorders

Types Of Speech Impairments

There are three basic types of speech impairments:


  1. Articulation disorders are errors in the production of speech sounds that may be related to anatomical or physiological limitations in the skeletal, muscular, or neuromuscular support for speech production. These disorders include:
    • Omissions: (bo for boat) - The child leaves a particular sound because he either cannot produce it at all, cannot produce it correctly or cannot use it properly.
    • Additions: This occurs when an extra sound is added to a word.
    • Substitutions: (wabbit for rabbit) - This occurs when the child consistently substitutes one sound with another.
    • Distortions: (shlip for sip) - Here, the actual sound of the syllable is distorted and an inexplicable sound is produced.

  2. Fluency disorders are difficulties with the rhythm and timing of speech characterized by hesitations, repetitions, or prolongations of sounds, syllables, words, or phrases. Common fluency disorders include:
    • Stuttering: rapid-fire repetitions of consonant or vowel sounds especially at the beginning of words, prolongations, hesitations, interjections, and complete verbal blocks. This is a disorder wherein the person repeats the first half of a word, or prolongs words and syllables (generally vowels) or gives involuntary pauses in between the words. It can be both developmental (that begins in childhood) or acquired (caused due to other disorders like Asperger's syndrome).
    • Cluttering: excessively fast and jerky speech. Cluttering speech disorder affects the fluency of speech. It occurs because the person speaks very fast or repeats things many a time to make it comprehensible. There is no distinct cause for cluttering. It may occur due to drug abuse or prolonged illness.
    • Dysarthria: It is commonly known as slurred speech. The speech is slow or inaccurate. It is generally caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis or brain tumor. This leaves the muscles in the mouth or tongue weak or paralyzed and it becomes difficult to control them.
    • Lisps: It is also known as stigmatism. This occurs when the person is unable to produce a specific speech sound. It is of three types:
      • Interdental: This occurs when the tongue comes in between the teeth at the time of speech.
      • Lateral: A wet sound is produced because air escapes from the sides of the tongue.
      • Palatal: This happens when the mid section of the tongue touches the soft palate.
    • Dysprosody: It is a rare speech disorder. Here, the rhythm, modulation, timing and intensity of speech is disrupted. Sometimes also referred to as foreign accent syndrome, its causes have not been fully understood. It may be a result of Parkinson's disease, tumor or stroke that affects the brain.

  3. Voice disorders are problems with the quality or use of one's voice resulting from disorders in the larynx. Voice disorders are characterized by abnormal production and/or absences of vocal quality, pitch, loudness, resonance, and/or duration.
    1. Vocal quality
      1. Phonation - Production of sound : Breathiness, hoarseness or huskiness due to the failure of vocal chords. Correct vibrations in the air flow, because of small growth structures – nodules, nodes or contact ulcers, irregularity or paralysis of one of the chords - so too much air will escape and predominate over phonation resulting in breathiness or huskiness.
      2. Resonance - De-nasal and Nasal
    2. Vocal intensity – Loudness and softness
    3. Vocal pitch
Last modified: Friday, 25 May 2012, 12:52 PM