Browsing: Speech Pathology

Everything You Need to Know About the Speech Therapy

Sometimes a child is unable to understand and express language or troubles in pronouncing words which may deprive in language development and communication skills. There are many kinds of speech defects due to different problems. But the most common problem spotted among children has delayed speech and language development. Speech defects can also be caused due to a severe injury or some medical condition. Speech therapy is a process to improve child's ability to understand the language using different methods and techniques for enhancing the language development and communication skills. Speech therapy often includes two common techniques for enhancing the language development.

1) Verbal Technique:

In this technique, coordinating the mouth to produce sounds to form words and sentences. This technique is to regulate the volume and fluency of child. Understanding the alphabets and its uses for word and sentence formation is very necessary. The verbal technique can help in understanding the basics of the language. With the help of little effort from both the therapist as well as the child, language can be interpreted conveniently.

2) Understanding and Expressing Technique:

In this technique, the child is trained to address the language through written sign and pictorial forms. There are interactive software's with the latest technology and great user interface primarily developed for speech therapy sessions. This fun software creates a playful environment for the children and also enhances the learning experience.

Three major benefits of speech therapy:

1) Positive attitude towards vocal communication:

With the help of latest technology and methods, the child can learn the use of language for communication very easily and effectively. With the help of regular speech therapy sessions, the child can develop normal speech habits with the friends or family resulting in a positive attitude towards vocal communication.

2) Elimination of child's fear of stammering:

Slowly and gradually with the help of regular speech therapy sessions, the child can also be taught to be confident and motivated at the same time. There are certain speech therapy games for the children which can also help in gaining confidence. The raised confidence will eventually help in eliminating the child's fear and stammering problems. Moreover, the experienced therapists constantly work in removing child's fear of stammering.

3) Developing good fluency:

Increased confidence can lead the child in many positive ways. The final stage of language development is fluency which can be achieved by regular practice. Children can learn words, gestures, and expressions while practicing the language and achieve perfection with respect to time and effort. With the same practice, the children can even fluency. Moreover, the expert therapists constantly stimulate the child and increase their enthusiasm with respect to the language and communication skills.

Conclusion:

There are many children who face speech defects and each one of them can be treated with right steps and correct guidance. Speech therapy is useful and effective at the same time. Moreover, it helps in building confidence, stability, and precision among the children. With the help of an experienced therapist and latest software, the child can overcome the speech defect quickly and easily.

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Applications for the Speech Impaired

Speech hurtment affects people in the way they create sounds to form words. Some of the most common forms of injury are stuttering, apraxia, and dysarthria. Affected people are not able to say even though they are fully aware of what they need.

This becomes a major problem for most people as they can not communicate freely. Luckily, the digital world has made it easy for speech impaired people to communicate with others. Here are some of the used apps for those affected.

Vaakya – ACC App

Another important app for the speech impaired people is the Vaakya – AAC app. It is a photo based app that is designed to assist people with speech problems. Individuals with speech problems arising from aphasia, strokes or MND / ALS can use the app. Similarly, people suffering from cerebral palsy, autism and other mental related problems can take advantage of the app.

AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Vaakya – AAC can assist people during rehabilitation. The app is both suitable for both literate and illustrite people since its photo based and therefore easy to use. Users can create their own set of photos as well as audio that relates to someone so that they can communicate effectively. There is a custom setting for users to take advantage of to communicate. At the moment, Vaaky – AAC runs on the Android platform only.

Talkitt App

This is an essential app for people with speech, language, and motor disorders. It is “speech to speech” app that gives disabled people the freedom to express themselves naturally. This is made possible by letting them use their voice to communicate. It can recognize speech patterns and translate into words that are understandable.

Talkitt can translate unintelligible pronunciation to perfect sentences with high accuracy. Also, the app can work in almost any spectrum of speech disadvantage severity from mild to severe. What's more, the app can translate the user's speech to any language. The apple is compatible with both iOS and on Android.

Touch Voice App

This app has been designed to address problems faced by people with various medical conditions such as brain tumors, selective mutism, brain injury, Parkinson's and others. It is always a struggle for both the listener and the speaker having speech disadvantage problems. The app is designed to articulate their needs and to feel quickly and thus reducing their stress levels extremely leading them to a comfortable life.

The app also uses AAC to allow speech impaired people to communicate via voice synthesis through clicking of buttons and photos. The app can be downloaded on Android and iOS platforms. There is also an optional web based app that users can use.

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Ways to Improve Your Voice Projection

In the world of business and education it is quite a common practice to give a speech in front of collections or contemporaries. Either while climbing the business ladder or as part of the learning curve in these situations, giving a speech and expressing a point of view is a necessary part of life. To some it comes quite naturally and they enjoy the limelight, but to others being the focus of everyone's attention is a living hell.

Effective communication during a speech can depend on quite a few factors, of course knowing your subject matter helps a great deal with confidence but knowing how to control your voice in these situations while maintaining good posture and body language can certainly set you ahead of the rest .

When speaking in public it is easy to feel like everyone is judging every word, but they are probably not. You have to remember the audience has probably heard people speaking in public a lot – you're not doing anything out of the ordinary. Although some say you should imagine everyone is naked to overcome your fear, or maybe help to look at the back of the room, not at the faces looking at you this is not always a good practice and what works for one person might not for another.

Always try and sound up beat about what you are saying – do not mumble or ramble. Be clear and positive, without using terms like “and erm” or “you know what I mean” and do not apologize for what you're saying.

If you have done your research, or perhaps you are talking about your own work then you can rehearse your presentation several times beforehand so you know what you're going to say, how and when.

Speech giving techniques to remember.

1) Stand Tall
It is best for voice projection to stand up while speaking feet hip distance apart, with your weight evenly distributed.Try to avoid rocking, swaying, tapping, or pacing. Movements such as this distract listeners from your message and it is a sign of nervousness.
Stand tall and mighty as if you are in command now, excellent posture confessions confidence before a single word is spoken.

2) Project Your Voice
Fill the room with your voice project your voice by speaking from the diaphragm and not the throat. This ensures that your voice is on the low end of its natural range and is grounded. A grounded voice allows you to project without training or becoming hoarse.
It is a good idea to speak quite loud, in fact speak louder than you think you should. It's nearly impossible to be too loud. A booming commanding voice is difficult to ignore and in the situation of listening in large groups or meeting it is all too easy for your audience to switch off after a while.

3) Smile
Show your teeth and let them know you are not afraid. Smiling not only makes your voice more pleasant to listen to, it also conveys confidence. Even if you are anxious and terrified of public speaking, no one will realize if you have a smile on your face. You will appear friendly, approachable, and composed.

4) And … Breath
Use … long … pauses. A lot of people turn sentences into run-ons and fill time with junk words, such as “um,” “ah,” “you know,” “kind of,” “like,” “so,” and “well.” These habits make speakers sound unprofessional. Its as if their brain can not keep up with their mouth. If you suffer from this, you should start correcting yourself in all conversations and ask the help of friends, family members to point out when you slip up.

If you do lose your train of thought, do not apologize, this will only draw attention to your mistake. A brief pause to find your place in your notes or taking a sip of water to regain composition can often just add more conviction to what your saying if you do it confidently. The Actor Christopher Walken is well known for his charismatic pauses while acting, he has turned it into an art form.

5) Focus your attention
Make lasting eye contact with an audience member for five to seven seconds-perhaps longer than you think you should. Then move on and hold your gaze on someone else in a different part of the room. Lingering eye contact builds rapport by giving audience members the feeling that they are engaged in an intimate one-on-one conversation.

Avoid scanning the audience without stopping to look directly at anyone and do not make selective eye contact with the two or three people in the room who are paying close attention. Ignore the suggestion of looking at the back of the room rather than your audience to reduce nervousness; it may make it the easiest speech you ever delivered, but it also will make it the least engaging. Audiences want you to speak to them, not at them.

Remember these five tips for confidence and delivery. Master these and you'll have the confidence to speak up and stand out in any situation.

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Is It Really Possible to Cure Stuttering?

Although there is no known cure for stuttering, there are easy things that you can do that will transform your speech and, for all practical purposes, eliminate your stuttering!

Notice that I did not say “completely annihilate your stuttering”. See, it turns out that very few people have perfect speech. Pay attention the next time you hear Barack Obama, the president of the United States and arguably the most powerful man in the world, give a speech or an interview. If you listen closely, you will hear him often stutter, repeat himself and use interjections (like “uhm”). However, most people do not think of him as a stutterer, because most people do not pay attention to those few words, as long as they are not excessive. And that same observation goes for most people. It turns out that a very small minority of people are truly fluent (ie have perfect speech nearly 100% of the time).

That being said, we will soon discover how to eliminate most of our stuttering and blocking episodes to the point where they are very noticeable. On the rare occasion that we encounter a stutter, we will learn how to make it sound natural and smooth.

Before we jump into the details, we need to understand how stuttering occurs.

Try the following experiment:

With one hand, grab your other hand and make sure your they are locked in together, as show in the picture to the left. Make sure you're holding on tight.

Now try to pull them apart, but make sure you do not let go. Keep trying to pull apart as hard as you can, without letting go.

Did you notice what you felt?

If you did not, then try the simple experiment one more time. This time around, pay close attention to how you feel. Pay attention to your mouth, lips, throat and stomach.

You will notice that all of these muscles suddenly tightened up and got very tense.

This process is known as the Effort Closure Process. It is a normal process that has several uses, like performing feats of strength, protecting our bodies from external dangers, and it is also the process that helps us produce speech! This Effort Closure Process also happens to be the main cause of stuttering!

Speech is produced when we build up air pressure in our lungs and then strategically let out that air to make sound and form sentences. In order to build up pressure, our brain instructs our body to use the effort closure process just like it did in the exercise above. Research shows that stutterers struggle to control and regulate their Effort Closure Process. So for example, we might apply too much or too little pressure, or fail to “release” the pressure at the right time.

This is What Goes Wrong When You Stutter

– You come across a sounds that you struggle with, like the “p” sound at the beginning of the word “PLEASE”

– In order to pronounce the “p” sound, your upper body tightens so your lungs can build up air pressure

– With your lips closed, your throat and mouth briefly tighten up as well, to maintain pressure

– Right as you are about to release the pressure and vocalize your “p”, your muscles fail to obey the brain's command

– Your lips are still tight, your upper body is still tight, you are building more and more pressure

– Your body does the only thing it knows to do instinctively during times of stress: the effort closure process

– As pressure continues to build and you fail to release it, your extreme tension might cause you to jerk your head or squint your eyes

– You may continue this for a while, or you may stop and repeat the process several times

– You are feeling very anxious, nervous, embarrassed, and stressed

– Finally, the sound comes out, but it is very harsh, and you are very self-conscious now

– The tension remains in your body and you struggle with several other words

So Now That We Understand Stuttering, How Do We Fix It?

Remember the important fact that we disclosed earlier: stuttering occurs when the effort closure process malfunctions. So in order to get rid of unnatural stuttering, we need to focus on learning how to perform the effort closure process properly. We also need to learn good speech techniques, especially the ones that help our speech flow more smoothly and effortlessly.

But learning good speech techniques alone is not enough. As stutterers, we develop bad breathing habits (we typically take shallow and fast breaths) and breathing is an extremely important factor in reducing the likelihood of stuttering. Also very important is learning how to relax the muscles involved in speech, because during stuttering our muscles get very tense.

Speech techniques, breathing, and muscle relaxation alone are not enough. You will also need to develop certain mental habits that will help you be conscious of what triggers your stuttering, and also work on the emotional aspect that is associated with stuttering.

How to Conquer Your Stutter in 10 Steps

– Have a complete understanding of how speech works, and how stuttering happens

– Understand how your body performs the effort closure process, and how it causes stuttering

– Train your body to perform a PROPER effort closure process

– Develop an awareness of how tense your body is and how that affects your stutter

– Train your brain to communicate correctly with your speech muscles

– Learn speech techniques that minimize the likelihood of stuttering (easy sunset, light touches, pullout, etc.)

– Learn proper and good breathing habits

– Program your mind to make all those techniques a habit

– Break the emotional cycle of stuttering, and develop a stronger knowledge and awareness of yourself

– Establish new habits in your mind so that all these new habits become second nature to you

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Common Speech Disorders in Children

As children begin to speak and learn language, there may be a variety of disorders or conditions which could hinder them along the way. It's important to become familiar with some of the most common, so that you know what you may expect, or what type of action should be taken. Here's a guide to some of the most common speech disorders in children.

  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech: This is motor speech disorder in which the brain has difficulty planning and sequencing movement of the articulators, and can result in difficulty producing sounds, syllables and words. The child may be able to internally process what he or she wanted to say, but may struggle to physically coordinate the movements to produce speech.
  • Stuttering: Stuttering is quite common, but can range very in terms of severity. An evaluation of an individual's stuttering pattern would take into account family history, concomitant speech or language disorders, the presence of avoidance behaviors or secondary behaviors (eg, grimacing, blinking), evaluation of the nature of the speaker's disfluencies, and the speaker's own views of his or her stuttering and how it affects his or her life.
  • Receptive-Expressive Language Impairment: An expressive language disorder relating to problems with a child getting his or her message across to others, while a receptive disorder relates to issues understanding an incoming message. Jointly a mixed receptive-expressive language disorder would have symptoms of both conditions.
  • Language-Based Learning Disabilities: This refers to a potentially wide range of different conditions, which hinder a child's ability with age-specific reading, spelling and writing. Due to the relationship between spoken and written language, children with language-based learning disabilities may present with challenges with spoken language as well.
  • Phonological Disorder: A phonological disorder is a condition which affects a person's ability to discriminate among and produce patterns of sounds. That means entire types of sounds may be omitted, or replaced with other genre types of sounds, ie, replacing hard / k / sounds with / t / sounds, even though the child may be able to physically produce the / k / and / t / sounds in isolation.
  • Articulation Disorder: An articulation disorder is a type of speech-sound disorder, which refers to problems producing speech sounds. As such, certain sounds may be incorrectly substituted or omitted, or even added, to words.

By no means is this a comprehensive collection of speech disorders in children, but it does include a number of common conditions. Hopefully you've been able to gain new insight into terminology you may have previously heard of, but were unaware about what the real implications were.

If your child has been diagnosed with a speech disorder, or you believe he or she may have one, it's important to receive an evaluation from a certified pediatric speech pathologist.

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5 Quick Tips to Improve Public Speaking Skills

Public speaking remains one of the single biggest fears that people have, and even seasoned public speakers are always on the lookout for new tips, tricks and ideas on how to improve their public speaking skills. Whatever it's something you've always been terrified of, or you're looking to prepare yourself for a specific upcoming event, you can use the following public speaking tips to begin making progress in the right direction.

  1. Always Practice: Practicing really does make a huge difference. You want to rehearse out loud, and practice not only the message, but your voice projection, timing, and breathing. This will also help you with your overall comfort level. When you really know the material, you'll have a much easier time with the speech or presentation.
  2. Visualize: Do some visualization, picturing yourself making your speech, and doing a fantastic job, speaking loudly, confidently and clearly, and being received well. Visualization techniques have been proven to improve confidence as well as performance.
  3. Be Positive: People are not rooting for you to fail, so do not start going down that road mentally. Be positive in terms of what you're thinking, and how you think you're doing. Additionally, do not call attention to “negatives”, such as forgetting what you're saying or being nervous. Just keep moving ahead and regain your line of thought.
  4. Focus on the Message: Do not think about how many people are listening to you, who they are, or why you're up there. Instead, just think about what you're saying. Focus on the message, and let the rest disappear. Again, as mentioned above, the more familiar with your material and the more well-practiced you are, the easier this will be.
  5. Watch Videos: Watch videos of presentations made by others who you think did a great job. What made them so effective? Was it their level of eye contact or audience engagement, the tone of their voice, their confidence, hand gestures, or anything else? Watch and learn from others, and take note of what you want to do for yourself. You'll gain some inspiration and some tricks which you can instantly begin incorporating. Additionally, try recording yourself in a practice session, and then watching the footage. You'll see what you may want to improve on, and you may also be aware that you were much better than you thought.

While many people can successfully improve public speaking skills all on their own, for many others, a speech and language pathologist can provide a superior, long-lasting solution by addressing any potential root problems or conditions, and overall confidence, clarity and comfort.

Whether it's a speech at a wedding, a problem with work, or an overall desire to simply improve your quality of life and ability to face any public speaking scenario you may come across, it may be time to consult with a speech therapist and learn more about how he or she will be able to help.

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Fact and Fiction: Separating Myths From Reality With Stuttering

If you or a family member stutters, then you may be quite confused as to what to do about it, what it means, or how common the problem even is. Many people hold incorrect beliefs about stuttering, and they usually serve to create a stigma about the problem.

Therefore, it's time to learn fact from fiction, and take in some important truths about stuttering. Take a look at these common stuttering facts and misconceptions, and separate myth from reality for yourself.

Fact: Millions of People Stutter

According to The Stuttering Foundation, approximately 68 million people across the world stutter, and about 3 million Americans do. That accounts for approximately 1% of the global and US population, respectively, and means there are literally millions of others like yourself.

Fact: Stuttering Runs in the Family

Many people do not realize that stuttering can actually be passed down genetically. Research shows that approximately 60% of people who stutter have a family member who stutters a well.

Fact: Stuttering Affects More Men than Women

Four times more men than women are affected by stuttering. It's not a misconception to believe that you have seen many more males with a stuttering condition than females. Still, that does mean that there would be able 13 million women across the globe who stutter, based on the statistical cited above.

Fiction: Emotional Trauma Causes Stuttering

Emotional trauma has not been proven to cause stuttering. In fact, research shows that children and adults who stutter are no more likely to have psychological or emotional problems than those who do not stutter.

Fiction: I Should Just Wait it Out

Many parents think that if their child is stuttering, they should just wait it out, and the child will sort it out on his or her own. That's not typically the best course of action, and stuttering problems can become more ingrained over time. After three or six months of a child stuttering, it's likely in everyone's best interest to get seek an evaluation from a speech and language pathologist.

Fiction: Stuttering is All the Same

There is actually a wide range of how severa a stuttering problem may be, as well as the specifics of how it affects each person's speech. There are many different stuttering patterns and behaviors, and even from person to person, there may be inconsistency on a day-to-day level.

Hopefully you've been able to learn more about stuttering, some common stuttering myths, as well as important facts. If you or a loved one has been coping with stuttering, then you may want to consult with a speech and language pathologist. He or she will be able to provide you with a quality plan of action to address your concerns and beginning making great strides forward.

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