According to strict speech disorder classification, only five to ten percent of the world population speaks in a completely “normal” manner with a healthy voice. All the rest of the world is said to have a speech disorder or impediment as they are often called. A speech disorder or speech impediment is a type of communication disorder where “normal” speech is disrupted. These can be common disorders such as cluttering, stuttering and lisps, to more severe forms like dysarthria and aphasia. Someone who is totally unable to speak due to a speech disorder is considered mute.
In many cases the cause of a speech disorder is unknown. However, there are various known causes such as neurological disorders, hearing loss, brain injury, mental retardation, physical impairments such as cleft lip or palate, drug abuse, and vocal abuse or misuse. Child abuse may also be a cause in some cases.
Many types of speech disorders can be treated by speech therapy, while others require medical attention by a doctor in phoniatrics. Phoniatrics is the medical research and treatment of organs involved with speech production; such as the mouth, throat (larynx), the vocal cords and lungs.
In the United States, school-age children with a speech disorder are often placed in special education programs, also known as speech therapy. Many school districts provide the students with therapy during school hours, although extended day and summer services may be appropriate under certain circumstances. These services may also include hearing therapy to assist with the speech problem. The cost per child enrolled in a speech therapy class in his or her school costs on average $3,800 per school year. This is usually funded by the government from tax dollars except in private schools where the school decides how the funds are paid.
Unfortunately, there are some negative social effects a person suffering from a speech disorder may have to deal with,...