Speech Disorder and Mental Health


A speech disorder is a blanket term applied to a group of conditions involving a person’s inability to create or form speech sounds that are needed in order to communicate with others. These disorders can be classified into five groups:

  • Articulation disorders
  • Phonological disorders
  • Voice disorders
  • Disfluency

It is different from that of language disorders that are common in children. This type of language disorder often refers to a person with difficulty when it comes to expressing their thoughts and feelings to others or understanding what is being said to them.

Causes of speech disorders

Speech develops naturally together with other signs of growth and development. It is one of the main ways that we communicate with other people around us. Speech and language disorders are quite common in toddler and preschool-age children.

Common causes of speech disorder include:

  • genetic abnormalities
  • trauma to the brain
  • emotional stress
  • structural changes to the muscles used for speech
  • hearing loss

How are speech disorders diagnosed?

There are many tests that can be used to diagnose different speech disorders.

  1. Denver Articulation Screening exam – This test is widely used to diagnose articulation disorders. It evaluates the pronunciation of a child between the age of 2 and 7.
  2. Early Language Milestones scale 2 – This test determines the language development of children. It is used to quickly identify delays in speech or language disorders.
  3. Peabody Picture Vocabulary test – It is used to measure a person’s ability to speak and their vocabulary. The person is asked to listen to different words and then choose pictures that closely describe the words. Those with intellectual disabilities and people who are blind cannot take this test.

How speech disorder affects mental health

As with any disorder, speech disorders have a great impact on a person’s mental health.

Lack of confidence

Children who are unable to pronounce words properly or have trouble saying certain words will often avoid being asked to speak in class. There is also the tendency to avoid social interactions for fear of being ridiculed by others or their friends. As they grow up, this lack of self-confidence can manifest in many different ways including the inability to make friends or the inability to form meaningful connections with others because they are unable to express their thoughts and feelings effectively.


Misdiagnosed or undiagnosed disorders of speech can lead to patients developing anxiety. As they grow and mature, that anxiety may manifest in different ways such as fear of speaking in public or other anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are classified as a form of anxiety that is constant and intense so much so that the person feels tense, preoccupied, distracted, and always on high alert.

Feelings of loneliness

When people lack the confidence to engage with other people due to a speech impediment, it can lead to them feeling lonely and alone. As humans, it is crucial that we have meaningful interactions with others. But in order to form that connection, communication is key. While there are some with speech disorders who have gone on to live full lives, those with severe forms of the disorder may be at a disadvantage and are prone to feeling a sense of isolation and loneliness.

Treatment for speech disorders

Early intervention is one of the best treatments for speech disorders. The earlier a disorder is caught and speech therapy activities created to correct it, the better.

The type of treatment recommended for speech disorders will depend on the type of disorder the person has and its underlying cause. Treatments can include:

  • speech therapy activities aimed at building familiarity with words and sounds;
  • exercises that focus on strengthening the muscle structures used in forming speech sounds

Target selection

This treatment will involve the patient practicing words or sounds in order to familiarize themselves with the speech pattern.

Contrast therapy

This therapy asks the person to say word pairs that have different speech sounds.

Ear device

An ear device is a small electronic aid that fits inside the ear canal. This is mainly used to help with disfluency for people with a stutter. Some devices will play a noise to control stuttering while others replay versions of the speaker’s voice as if someone is speaking with them.


Sometimes speech disorders are mental in nature. Anxiety is one leading cause of speech disorders that is mental in nature. Stressful situations may help trigger anxiety which results in the person having trouble pronouncing words or sounds. Anxiety medications can be prescribed to help reduce symptoms of the disorder.


It is important to reiterate that early detection is very important for the treatment of speech disorders. A child showing symptoms of a speech disorder and then given the appropriate speech therapy activities have a better chance of recovery than someone already in their teens or adulthood. Although not impossible, it is harder to correct after years of no treatment or misdiagnoses.

Credit: Eliza Brooks

Related post


  • Thank you for sharing your understanding on this specific subject. I personally accept a great deal of your own content. It is quality info.

  • I liked looking at your own write-up as well as concentrating on the points made in it. Definitely. You actually tend to make plenty of sense and you also know how to communicate your thoughts. I personally appreciate your efforts.

  • I actually plan to come back to your post later in order to go through it once again as well as look at the points you make in it. It is by now in my favorite’s folder. Many thanks.

  • Your insight within this matter is great. I personally accept much of what you have to say plus your writing has caused me to think. Thank you so much for this information.

  • It’s a smash hit! The validity of the points you tend to make within this writing are on the ball. Really extraordinary work on this particular content.

  • It is rewarding to notice that your content verifies my view. I personally couldn’t have mentioned this better myself. You have actually gone above and beyond with this article. Thank you a lot.

  • Just about any author who takes enough time to explore a topic as thoroughly as you’ve should be commended. This particular post is appealing and extremely well compiled. The first couple of sentences motivated me personally to read a lot more.

  • It’s hard to argue extraordinary info such as this. The points are right on and I also go along with you 100 %. Thanks for making it so very intriguing.

  • While I had been going through the post, I noticed that I needed extra support in learning how to create just like your writer does. This specific is extraordinary. I’m pleased I found this post.

  • To put it simply this article is genuine quality! You have really put things into perspective for me personally. I am impressed together with your way of writing and skills. Thank you for rendering this article clear and understandable and interesting.

  • This post proves that you will find writers that truly value the quality of content material they share. Thanks for being this sort of author.

  • I adore a good write-up like this one. You actually ponder nearly the same as I actually do and I’m delighted I came across your own article. Thank you so very much.

  • Quality article! This is a bit of info I’m able to comprehend and agree upon with you. Thank you for maintaining it uncomplicated and also easy to read. You actually are a gifted writer who produces good quality material.

  • I personally feel this post is excellent. I personally agree with much of the details here and am motivated to find out more on this subject matter. Thanks for maintaining things attention-grabbing.

  • A great post is a bit more than just writing words and phrases. It requires special zeal for the art to create superb material. I personally can feel the enthusiasm in this post and I agree with the points right here.

  • Personally, I believe you have added a great deal to this specific subject. I personally adored this post a lot. It can’t be easy to make every single sentence exciting, but you managed it.

Comments are closed.