Stuttering and Voice Disorders 

Stuttering, or stammering, is a speech fluency disorder. Speech is interrupted by hesitating, repeating sounds and words, or prolonging sounds. There may be additional physical symptoms such as facial tension or body movements. Early intervention helps, but it is never too late for treatment to be sought for both adults and children. 

Voice Problems (Vocal Abuse)
Excessive tension when speaking can stress the vocal cords and cause problems in the throat muscles, and affect the voice. Any vocal abuse, such as excessive talking, shouting, coughing or clearing of the throat, can lead to a voice disorder, as physical changes such as nodules or polyps in the vocal cords change how the voice sounds. Our speech pathologists accept referrals from ENT specialists for treating children and adults with voice disorders. 
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Dyspraxia of speech occurs because of impaired voluntary programming of speech muscle movements for speech. These difficulties don't occur with involuntary movements. For example, the child may be able to lick ice cream with their tongue, but can't move the tongue to say the 'k' sound in a word such as 'cake'. The error is inconsistent. The child may not be able to produce the sound when instructed to but may do so at another time. The child can be seen struggling to place the tongue or lips into the right position. In therapy with a child who has Childhood Dyspraxia of Speech our speech pathologists will use play therapy and learning activities to encourage and reward the child for sound or word repetition, moving towards more spontaneous speaking, and to improve accuracy and speed of speech movements so that the child can produce clearer longer words and sentences. Speech Dyspraxia may also occur in adults who, for example, have had a stroke.
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Feeding/Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Disorders
Swallowing disorders, also called dysphagia, occur when nerve control or structures involved in the process are not functioning properly. Many conditions can cause swallowing problems, among them:
  • Developmental disorders with poor muscle tone (e.g. Downs syndrome, Cerebral Palsy)
  • Neurological conditions such as stroke, Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson's Disease and other neurodegenerative conditions including Dementia
  • Breathing related conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)

Swallowing disorders can require medical attention for a variety of reasons. People who can't swallow safely may not be able to eat a healthy diet or maintain a healthy weight. Chunks of food or liquids may get into the windpipe, which can cause choking or start a lung infection. Many cases of dysphagia can be improved with treatment. Treatments for dysphagia include therapy to learn new swallowing techniques and changing the consistency of food and liquids to make them safer to swallow. Children with Autism Spectrum disorders are often picky eaters, and can benefit from strategies to increase food intake and variety.