Types of Disorders

As Related to Parkinson’s

Speech Disorder - Parkinson'sIt is estimated that over a million Americans and nearly ten million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s, and the prevalence of the disease in the United States is projected to double by 2040. Despite all we have learned about Parkinson’s, there is still so much more we need to do to develop better treatments, find a cure, and support those currently living with the disease. Raising awareness is one way we can accomplish this!


At Nancy L. Foreman & Associates, we provide individualized Speech Therapy for the Parkinson’s patient. Many of our patients have also benefited from group classes & support groups offered by the Houston Area Parkinson Society (www.hapsonline.org).


Frustrated childWhat is a Language Disorder?

Language consists of a variety of components. Vocabulary, words with their underlying meanings, is combined to create utterances according to rules of syntax and grammar. In addition, the child is learning the social customs or pragmatics of her language. Language develops according to a timetable. Children whose language development lags significantly from the timetable may be considered developmentally delayed in acquisition. A child with a language disorder may not use the language commensurate with her peers.


What is a Speech Disorder?

The acquisition of speech occurs along a developmental continuum, where one can predict what developmental features should be present. By the time a child is 48 months old, she should be understood by others. Articulation skills involve the production of phonemes (sounds). Common errors in articulation include substitution of sounds, omission of sounds, and distortion of sounds. Children with oral motor weakness will sometimes demonstrate feeding difficulties in addition to articulation errors. Weakness of the lips, tongue, jaw or cheeks may cause difficulty with eating, drinking, speech, and/or facial expression.


What is a Voice Disorder?

Early diagnosis, medical treatment and proper speech therapy make the prognosis for most voice disorders excellent. Voice disorders are classified as problems with vocal quality, loudness, pitch and resonance. These problems occur when the vocal cords do not vibrate properly. Reflux, soft palate and swallowing problems may also contribute to poor vocal quality.


Man worried about his stutteringCauses of voice disorders may include:

  • Growths on the vocal cords – Vocal Nodules or Polyps
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis – secondary to a viral infection or nerve damage after surgery, a stroke or cancer
  • Spasmodic Dysphonia – a nerve problem that causes the vocal cords to spasm
  • Inflammation and Swelling – due to respiratory illness, GERD, surgery, allergies, smoking, exposure to certain chemicals, alcohol abuse or vocal abuse
  • Misuse or abuse of the voice – may be the result of increased stress and tension while speaking, too much talking, shouting, singing, throat clearing or coughing

This office has had great success in treating adults and children with voice disorders. Once the cause of the problem has been identified, a comprehensive treatment plan is established which may consist of exercises, lifestyle changes, and recommendations for medications or injections. We work closely with a number of Otolaryngologists (ENT’s) to ensure the best possible outcome for our patients.


What is a Fluency Disorder (Stuttering)?

Stuttering is a disorder of speech that affects the fluent production of sounds, words, phrases, and sentences. Types of dysfluencies include part-word repetitions (b-b-b-ball), prolongations (m_____an), broken words (hap-pen), whole word repetitions (My My My), phrase repetitions (I need some; I need some food), and interjections (hum). In addition, secondary behaviors may co-occur. These behaviors are particular to the individual and develop as the individual tries to cope with his stuttering. Occasionally children experience a period of normal dysfluency between the ages of three and six. These normal dysfluencies are characterized by interjections, whole word repetitions, and phrase repetitions.


Speech DisorderWhat is Apraxia?

The decreased ability or inability to position the lips, tongue, or vocal cords to produce various sounds for speech, resulting not from weakness but rather from the impaired motoric aspect of producing sounds.


What is Aphasia?

The inability or decreased ability to understand others or express oneself; the decreased ability to interpret and use language for communication. Difficulties may occur with speaking, listening/comprehending, reading, or writing. Aphasia is usually the result of a CVA or stroke. Cancers, tumors, aneurysms, or other injuries to the brain also can cause aphasia.


What is Dysarthria?

The decreased ability to produce clear, understandable speech – frequently called “slurred speech.” It is usually the result of weakness or incoordination of one or more of the following speech systems: articulation, phonation, respiration, resonance, and prosody.


What is Dysphagia?

A decreased ability to chew and/or swallow food, liquid, or saliva. This can be the result of stroke, brain injury, surgery, neurological diseases, or injury to the throat.