The symptoms of speech disorders may vary according to the kind of speech impairment someone has. Some speech symptoms that could indicate speech impairment include unintelligible speech; articulation problems like leaving out consonants or other sounds; repetition of phrases, words, or sounds; and unintentional changes in volume, pitch, or voice quality. However, symptoms aren't limited to speech. Mannerisms like head jerking or eye blinking or emotions like frustration or embarrassment during speech can also indicate speech impairment.
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Aphasia: In general, patients with aphasia have difficulty understanding and/or expressing verbal and written language. The severity and specific type of symptoms vary depending on the extent of brain damage, as well as the part of the brain that is affected. Patients with aphasia may speak in short, abbreviated sentences, speak in long sentences that do not make sense, make up words, not understand other people's conversation, have difficulty finding the right words, not understand written words, write sentences that do not make sense, and make significant spelling mistakes.
Articulation disorders: Patients with articulation disorders have difficulty pronouncing certain vowels or consonants. Patients may leave out certain sounds in words. For instance, they may say "at" instead of "hat." Patients may replace sounds that are difficult to pronounce with others. For instance, the letter "r" is often replaced with the letter "w." These patients may say "wunning" instead of "running." Finally, some patients may make distorted sounds when they try to pronounce certain words. A distorted sound may be a whistle, the air may come out the sides of the mouth causing a "slushy" sound or lateral lisp, or the tongue may thrust between the teeth causing a frontal lisp. Most children with articulation disorders are able to overcome this disorder without treatment by the age of five.
Dysarthria: Symptoms of dysarthria may include slurred or jerky speech that is difficult to understand, difficulty controlling pitch and loudness when speaking, slow or rapid speech, mumbled speech, difficulty chewing or swallowing food, drooling, and limited ability to move the lips, tongue, and jaw.
Dysfluency disorders: Most dysfluency disorders are characterized by a repetition of a word, sound, or phrase. An example of this type of disorder is stuttering. Patients may also add extra syllables or words that add no meaning to the message. They may pause longer than two seconds in the middle of a phrase. They may make frequent corrections in pronunciation during speech. Patients may also say certain sounds or syllables longer than normal.
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