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How Voice Disorders caused by Cerebral Palsy can be treated by a Speech-Language Pathologist

For many people, the simple act of speaking clearly and efficiently can be a difficult task. Among those suffering from cerebral palsy, the act of speaking can even be a torturous process, and many suffer in literal silence. However, there are a number of options for those suffering from speech-language disorders associated with CP ” as long as they know where to look for help.

Prevalence and Characteristics of CP

  • According to the Government of Canada, Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability among children.
  • Global population-based studies report prevalence estimates of CP ranging from 1.5 upward to more than 4 per 1,000 live births or children of a defined age range.
  • About 1 in 323 children has been identified with CP according to estimates from recent documents collected from the CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

According to speech-language expert Simone Friedman speech therapy in Toronto or any other city can help patients cope with and even overcome speech disorders caused by CP. Those who suffer from CP may experience a number of voice disorders that can make speech difficult to near-impossible. Voice disorders affecting vocal quality (hoarseness, strained etc.), vocal loudness (the volume; loud or quiet), pitch (the notes going up and down), or of someone’s speaking or singing voice are often due to poorly functioning larynx (voice box), respiration system, or possibly the vocal tract.

The following voice disorders have been known to affect many children and adults suffering from cerebral palsy:

  • Aphasia ” A language disorder caused by brain damage or disease resulting in difficulty in formulating, expressing, and /or understanding language.
  • Apraxia A speech programming disorder which makes words and sentences sound jumbled or meaningless.
  • Articulation disorders caused as a result of neurological damage such as stroke or head injury are termed motor speech disorder.
  • Fluency disorders: (stuttering) ” A disruption in the standard flow of rhythm of speech. Characteristics may include repetition of vocables such as sounds, syllables, words or phrases, hesitations, prolongations or interjections.
How is a Voice Disorder Assessed?

Perceptual analysis by an experienced Speech-Language Pathologist and/or anOtolaryngologist is still considered the best way to assess a voice disorder. It is also important to conduct a physical examination and acoustic measures to determine whether or not a more serious condition associated with the disorder (such as CP or Down syndrome) is present.

Who Can Benefit from Voice Therapy and Coaching?

In the discipline of speech-language pathology, voice therapy and coaching can help children, adults and the elderly of both gender (female and male) better cope with speech disorders associated with CP or Down syndrome.  At a recognized speech-language pathology clinic such as Simone Friedman SLS, assessment and treatment follows several carefully monitored steps.

Step 1: A 1.5 hour assessment session is an integral part of the process and is conducted by an experienced Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). This is the stage where a case history, oral exam and acoustic measures are conducted.

Step 2: A patient may be referred to other professionals (otolaryngologist etc.) for further testing and concurrent treatment if needed.

Step 3: A course of 8-12 weekly or bi-weekly sessions of 45 minutes to 1 hour are conducted.

Step 4: A short review of voice changes is conducted by a speech language expert while acoustic measures are compared for progress.

Step 5: The client may be discharged or recommended to continue using other techniques from home.

To learn more, visit a speech-language pathology centre near you to begin a potential assessment session and start treating impeding speech disorders with the help of trained experts.