Speech and language disorders: Causes, Treatment, Test

A speech disorder is a condition in a person who has difficulty forming sentences, creating logical words to communicate with other people.

Language is the one type of communication disorder in that person is having difficulties in learning that is speaking, learning, and sign language.

Speech and language disorders are having a high rate of incidence of mental health. It is commonly seen in schizophrenia, psychosis, mood disorder, dementia disorder. So there is a necessity to develop Speech, language, and communication skills.

specific developmental disorders of speech and language
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Table of Contents

Causes speech and language disorder

If a child is diagnosed with medical conditions, e.g., Down syndrome, deafness, or hearing impairment, it may also lead to speech and language disorder.

Children who are abused or neglected in the infant age group may have a chance of getting this disorder.

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Language disorders

A language disorder is an impairment or difficulty in comprehends or use spoken words, written symbol system.

Language disorders are developmental. It may start in early childhood and continue into adulthood.

Language disorders may be characterized by 

  • Difficulties in assign meaning to words (vocabulary), 
  • Difficulties in organizing words into sentences.
  • Difficulties in alter word forms to indicate tense, phrases, and plurality, 
  • Difficulties in producing speech sound comprising the words of the language.

Types of Language Disorders:        

 Language expression disorder:

People have a problem understanding their message when talking and inability to put words together into sentences and make sense.

Language sensory disorder:

People have a problem getting the meaning of what other people are speaking and difficulties in responding to others.

Mixed expression and receptive language disorder:

People having a problem with expression and language disorder.

Speech disorders

Speech is the oral production of language, including articulation of sounds, rhythm, and tone. 

A speech disorder is defined as an impairment of the articulation of sounds, voice, and fluency.  

Causes of speech disorder: 

  • Low intelligence. 
  • Poor hearing/loss of hearing.
  • Birth injuries
  • Diseases or other disturbances that affect CNS.
  • Prolonged illness
  • Environmental Influences: 
  • Lack of speech stimulation.
  • Lack of motivation for learning to talk.
  • Negativism or emotional conflict.
  • Poor model of Speech to imitate.
  • Multilingualism – Exposure to more than one language during 
  • Speech learning period.

Classification of speech disorder

Voice disorders.

Articulation disorders.

Fluency disorders

Voice disorders

Voice disorder can arise from a structural problem in the respiratory tract or oral cavity or alter the pitch.

In the lower respiratory tract, an inability for adequate thoracic activity can cause a voice disorder. 

A disabled child without proper muscular support may not adequately move air out of the lungs to produce sounds.

Causes Voice Disorders: 

  • Surgically correctable lesions that restrict airflow and movement of the vocal cords. (tracheal walls are weak and collapse).
  • Narrowing of subglottic space.
  • Abnormal larynx can cause restriction of vocal cord movement,
  • Damaged or paralyzed cords due to congenital, traumatic, and pathologic lesions.
  • Hormonal changes or psychological problems also can cause pitch disorder. 
  • Some pitch disorders correct themselves-for example, a young man’s voice cracks during puberty.

Articulation disorders

Articulation, which is the clear and correct pronunciation of a word, continues to develop until the child reaches 8-9 yrs old.

Baby talk, which includes omissions of letters, distortions, is gradually replaced with correct pronunciation if the infant has a good adult model in the future.

Causes of articulation disorder: 

Structural Causes

  • Cleft Palate – Air escapes upward through the palate, causing hypernasality or talking through the nose.
  • Maxillary malformation in the oral cavity
  • Lymphoid hyperplasia – This is almost always corrected when the adenoids or tonsils are removed.


  •  Unclear speech due to weakness of muscles. 
  •  Mental Retardation.

Non-Organic Causes

  • When no structural or neurology reason can be found. This condition is  Known as delayed Speech.

Fluency disorder

A fluency disorder is an abnormal Speech flow with impaired rate, rhythm, and tone of Speech.

Stuttering(difficulty when speaking) – It is the most common fluency disorder.

Causes of Fluency disorder

  • Many theories have evolved to explain the cause of stuttering.
  • Organic approaches focus on genetic, neurological, and metabolic Reason
  • Others psychological linguistic or learning Impairments.
  • Neurosis ( brain condition) which can also lead to speech problem.

Problems in language and speech development

Six months – Does not turn eyes and head in response to sound coming from the side or behind.

Ten months – child not making any response to name. 

15 months – Does not respond to or understand “no, no” or “Bye-bye”.

Eighteen months – Does not have vocabulary up to 10 words.

Twenty-one months: Does not respond to the direction (i.e., come to me, sit down).

Twenty-four months: Does not use two-word phrases. Does not point to a body part on request.

30 months – Has Speech that is not intelligible to any family

Thirty-six months – Has not started to ask simple questions.  Uses no simple sentences.

Forty-two months – Consistently fails to produce final consonant(sound).

After four years – Is noticeably dysfluent (stutters).

After seven years – Has any speech sound errors. 

At any age – Has noticeable hyper nasality (too much sound or vibration in the nasal cavity).


Physical workout and muscle strengthening that produces speech sound.

Oral motor therapy

Focuses on improving muscle strength, motor control, and breathe control. Also, help people develop fluency and Speech that sound more natural and smoother. 

Ear device

A small electronic device that fits inside the ear canal. Wearers’ voice to make it seems as though someone is speaking with them. This device can also improve people who have a stuttering problem.

Contrast therapy

Involves saying word pairs that contain one or more different types of speech sound.

Word pair might be; “beat” and feet, “lazy” and “crazy.”

Also read: All About Conversion Disorder

Target selection

This includes a particular speech pattern. Involve a person by practicing specific sounds or words to familiarize.  


There is no any particular medication for the speech disorder. Some time anxiety medication may help to reduce symptoms of speech disorders.

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