Speech Impediments and Unintelligible Speech

Speech Impediments

When a preschooler can’t say the ‘R’ sound, it’s adorable. But if an older child, teen, or adult can’t say it, it can be mortifying.

When you have a lisp, your brain might be in overdrive trying to think of words that convey the right meaning but that don’t have the ‘S’ sound.

Frustration, embarrassment, anxiety, teasing, bullying. None of it is fair or easy.

In a perfect world, what we say should matter more than how we say it. Sadly, that’s often not the case.

Unintelligible Speech

Not being able to make your wants, needs, thoughts, and feelings known is torture.

Your child feels it, too.

Speech is one of the primary tools we use to meet our physical, emotional, and social needs.

When a child can’t be understood, behavior becomes the communication tool of choice.

The aggression, anger, and frustration build every week. Eventually these behaviors may transform into anxiety and a withdrawn temperament.

But you’ve tried speech therapy before! Why didn’t it work?

Your child goes to speech therapy at school once or twice a week, but there’s little change.

You’ve participated in speech therapy yourself (maybe even on multiple occasions) but nothing helped.

Sadly, this can happen sometimes.

In fact, hearing about these experiences from our clients is part of what led us to pursue hundreds of hours of continuing education and to dig deeper into what causes speech challenges and what to do about it!

For kids, part of the problem is group therapy.

When a child receives speech therapy in public schools they can often be seen once or twice per week, in a group of 2-6 children for 15-20 minutes, regardless of their individual needs.

For example, each child in the group may have completely different goals (social skills, grammar, vocabulary, how to say the ‘R’ sound, or how to say the ‘S’ sound), and the speech therapist may be expected to target every child’s different goals all at the same time.

We’d never expect a teacher to teach math, science, reading, and social studies all at the same time; but this is basically what speech-language pathologists are often required to do in public schools.

Guess what? It’s not very effective.

One-on-one therapy provides the most efficient, effective, and enjoyable outcomes.

This is where we have seen the magic happen time and time again.

Participating in individual, one-on-one, specialized treatment is how everyone can make the most progress, no matter their age.

Individual treatment sessions allow us to be laser-focused on you or your child’s specific strengths and weaknesses.

For adults, the problem can be underlying structural or functional oral motor challenges.

Some adults who struggle with certain speech sounds may have difficulty dissociating their tongue from their jaw or they may have a rather small palate. Additionally, they may have reduced sensation or difficulty coordinating their tongue.

Will it work for everyone?

Honestly, we won’t know until we try.

In rare cases, there may be neurological, structural, cognitive, or behavioral challenges that may impede progress with speech production.

But it’s always worth a try. If something isn’t working, we’ll adjust course or help you find someone who can help you move forward.

Everyone needs to be heard.

We can help.

For more information on what we can do to improve speech impediments and unintelligible speech, please visit our Contact page.