Learning Disabilities

Children who have a learning disability may have difficulty with academic areas such as reading, math, and/or writing.  Children that have a learning Specific learning disabilities are typically diagnosed in the schools after extensive testing.  Learning disabilities are a brain disorder and most children have LD from birth.  Children may have a specific learning disability in a single academic area or multiple areas in school.  A child with LD may also struggle with math or social skills.  They may have difficulty learning new words, understanding questions, following directions, telling left from right, comprehending text, talking about ideas in a coherent manner, remembering details from stories, matching sounds to written letters, etc.  Speech therapy can help in these areas as early speech and/or language problems may later lead to reading and writing difficulties.

Fluency

Fluency is the aspect of speech production that refers to continuity, smoothness, rate, and effort. Stuttering, the most common fluency disorder, is an interruption in the flow of speaking characterized by repetitions (sounds, syllables, words, phrases), sound prolongations, blocks, interjections, and revisions, which may affect the rate and rhythm of speech. These disfluencies may be accompanied by physical tension, negative reactions, secondary behaviors, and avoidance of sounds, words, or speaking situations (ASHA, 1993; Yaruss, 1998; Yaruss, 2004). Cluttering, another fluency disorder, is characterized by a perceived rapid and/or irregular speech rate, which results in breakdowns in speech clarity and/or fluency (St. Louis & Schulte, 2011).  Stuttering typically has its origins in childhood. Most children who stutter begin to do so around 2 ½ years of age (e.g., Mansson, 2007; Yairi & Ambrose, 2005; Yaruss, LaSalle, & Conture, 1998). Approximately 95% of children who stutter start to do so before the age of 5 years (Yairi & Ambrose, 2005).  Stuttering can impede social interactions and success in school and/or work.  Some children who stutter often report anxiety in anticipation of speaking tasks or become embarrassed when speaking with unfamiliar listeners.  Children who stutter may also be at risk for experiencing bullying.  Adults may also experience a form of fluency disorder known as neurogenic stuttering.  This type of stuttering may result after a stroke or traumatic brain injury.  Speech therapy can help to teach strategies to reduce stuttering moments and ease the anxiety of the individual.