The ability to communicate is one of the most basic human characteristics. Communication is essential to learning, working, and, perhaps most important, social interaction. Normal communication involves hearing sounds, interpreting and organizing sounds, and making meaningful sounds. The ear takes in sounds, changes them into electrical impulses, and relays these impulses to the brain. The brain interprets the impulses, assigns meaning, and prepares a response. This response is then coded into the precisely coordinated changes in muscles, breath, vocal folds, tongue, jaw, lips, and so on that produce understandable speech.
Between 5 percent and 10 percent of Americans experience speech or language difficulties, often referred to as speech disorders. For these individuals, a breakdown occurs in one of the processes of normal communication described above. People with speech disorders may exhibit one or more of the following problems: They may be difficult to understand, use and produce words incorrectly, consistently use incorrect grammar, be unable to hear appropriately or to understand others, consistently speak too loudly, demonstrate a hesitating speech pattern, or simply be unable to speak. Speech disorders can be categorized as one of three disorder types: disorders of articulation, of fluency, or of voice. Articulation disorders are difficulties in the formation and stringing together of sounds to produce words. Fluency disorders, commonly referred to as stuttering, are interruptions in the flow or rhythm of speech. Finally, voice disorders are characterized by deviations in a person's voice quality, pitch, or loudness.
Was this article helpful?
Discover Simple Techniques to Help Control Your Stutter. Stuttering is annoying and embarrassing. If you or a member of your family stutters, you already know the impact it can have on your everyday life. Stuttering interferes with communication, and can make social situations very difficult. It can even be harmful to your school or business life.