Speech difficulties are those relating to the articulation and pronounciation of sounds and can range from mild to severe depending on their cause.
Speech difficulties may include:
Slurring of speech (which may arise from a neurological impairment such as a stroke)
Difficulty articulating certain speech sounds due to structural abnormality (e.g cleft palate, oral surgery)
Mispronounciation of sounds due to habitual misplacement (commonly misplaced sounds include 's' (lisps), and 'r' )
Inability to distinguish between different speech sounds, thereby leading to the identical production of two different speech sounds (e.g 'f' and 'th' are commonly produced in this way)
Speech and Language Therapy for Speech problems
Speech and Language Therapy can be effective at improving or resolving many speech difficulties depending on their cause.
Exercises can be given to improve slurred speech caused by neurological damage.
Alternative ways of producing sounds can be taught for some people with structural abnormalties that affect their speech.
Incorrectly produced sounds can be improved through practising tasks that involve discriminating between different sounds and learning new patterns of placement.
How does a SPEECH problem differ from a LANGUAGE problem?
Language difficulties relate to the comprehension and expression of meaning, which originates in the language centre of the brain rather than in the mouth, tongue or larynx. For this reason, it is common for people who have a stroke (damage to the brain through a bleed or blood clot) to experience language problems which affect their ability to understand spoken/written language and/or cause problems with their ability to form sentences or select the correct words they want to use when communicating with others. Your Speech & Language Therapist can provide you with information about whether the communication difficulty is due to a problem with speech, language, or a combination of both.