Speech disorders can appear at any age and be of congenital origin (mental retardation, neurological dysfunctions at birth) or acquired (Traumatic Brain Injury, Parkinson's disease, Dementia).

When a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with his or her voice, then he or she has a speech disorder. Difficulties pronouncing sounds, or articulation disorders, and stuttering are examples of speech disorders.


When a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely (expressive language), then he or she has a language disorder. A stroke can result in aphasia, or a language disorder.


Children might need speech-language therapy for a variety of reasons, including:
- Hearing impairments
- Cognitive (intellectual; thinking) or other developmental delays
- Autism
- Respiratory problems (breathing disorders)
- Swallowing disorders
- Traumatic brain injury


Therapy should begin as soon as possible. Children enrolled in therapy early in their development (younger than 3 years) tend to have better outcomes than those who begin therapy later.


Adults may need speech-language therapy for a variety of reasons, including:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Dementia
- Huntington disease
- Laryngeal or oral cancer
- Stroke
- Traumatic brain injury

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