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July 14, 2021 • read
Five signs you may need speech therapy
If you or someone you love has ever experienced a speech or language disorder, you understand how challenging it can be. It becomes a hindrance to everyday life, preventing those affected from being able to share their thoughts easily or clearly.
Thankfully, there is hope for people with speech and language disorders through speech therapy. This type of therapy could revolve around strengthening muscles needed for speaking, or improving a person’s ability to articulate thoughts in a clear and smooth way.
For people with these types of conditions, it’s not always clear whether speech therapy would be beneficial to them. We’ve compiled a list of 5 common verbal issues, which could be improved through treatment.
If you’re experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, there’s a good chance you could benefit from speech therapy.
Do you find that when you speak you often repeat words? Do you have a hard time pronouncing certain sounds, or find yourself stretching your words to draw out certain sounds?
If you said yes to any of these, you may have a stutter – one of the most common forms of speech disorders.
Stuttering typically involves repetitions, blocks, or prolongations to certain words, which can make it difficult to speak. This could also be accompanied by physical symptoms like excessive blinking, jerking head movements, or lip tremors.
Speech therapy can help you manage these symptoms by focusing on improving your fluency to allow for smoother flow of speech.
When you’re speaking, do you have difficulty pronouncing sounds like “s” or “z”? These could be signs of a lisp.
There are actually two kinds of lisps: frontal (where the tongue is too far forward) and lateral (where the tongue is too high and lax). This is a very common condition affecting both children and adults.
Using speech therapy, you’ll be able to practice manipulating your tongue in a way that allows for clearer pronunciation of challenging letters. For adults that had a lisp as a child, speech therapy can help you improve your confidence when speaking in public.
3) Resonance or voice issues
Some people may find that their vocal quality fluctuates throughout the day, or can vary from day-to-day. This could appear as hoarseness, or a gravelly or distorted voice when you speak.
This can be caused by muscle weakness in the chest or throat, as well as a range of issues affecting the vocal cords.
A progressive change in voice can also occur as a result of a chronic and progressive disease, such as Parkinson’s disease.
Vocal distortion can lead to embarrassment when speaking, especially when your words don’t come out sounding the way you thought they would.
Speech therapy can provide you with some exercises you can do at home to strengthen weak muscles in the chest and throat. Additionally, speech therapy can help teach you techniques to improve your vocal quality, pitch, and volume.
4) Difficulty articulating thoughts
Are there frequent moments when you’re speaking when you just can’t find the words you want to say? Do you find that you have great difficulty expressing yourself verbally?
When this happens often, it can be the result of difficulties with your brain in coordinating your thoughts alongside your speech. This can be incredibly frustrating because you know what you want to say, but when you try to speak, the word won’t come out properly.
Speech therapy can help you manage these challenges through exercises that are designed to help you overcome the barriers between internal thoughts and verbal speech.
5) Diagnosed conditions that affect speech
A wide range of conditions can also affect our speech patterns. From strokes to autism to brain injuries, the list of underlying conditions is far-reaching.
If you have a condition that affects your speech as a symptom, speech therapy can help improve your ability to communicate. The types of treatments used will depend on what specific underlying condition is causing your speech issues, but in many cases, speech therapy can help.
Often, the goal in these situations isn’t to provide a “cure”. Instead, speech therapy is designed to give you techniques you can use to improve your ability to express yourself verbally, without fear or embarrassment.
Children vs adults
While some forms of speech and language disorders are much more likely in children than in adults, many affect people of all ages.
Speech issues in children are very common. Many will go away on their own as the child grows and continues practicing their speech. Others may require assistance from a speech therapist, so they can learn techniques they can use to improve their speaking skills.
Many adults, especially those who had speech or language disorders as a child, may also find that they can benefit from speech therapy. It can provide improvements in self-confidence and articulation necessary for them to feel confident expressing themselves in their daily lives.
Some conditions relating to brain injury could affect people of any age, and some conditions may develop or worsen as a person gets older. Regardless of your age, if you’re struggling with verbalizing your thoughts and feelings, speech therapy is a useful tool to help you overcome those obstacles.
Can Maple help me with my speech therapy?
Yes, we can. We’re committed to helping you, and we provide visits with licensed Speech-Language Pathologists on our platform for these types of conditions.
Meeting with a Speech-Language Pathologist is a wonderful start towards obtaining speech therapy that can treat your specific symptoms.