Motor Speech Disorders

talking problemsMotor speech disorders are a class of speech disorder that disturb the body’s natural ability to speak. These disturbances vary in their etiology based on the integrity and integration of cognitive, neuromuscular, and musculoskeletal activities. Speaking is an act dependent on thought and timed execution of airflow and oral motor / oral placement of the lips, tongue, and jaw that can be disrupted by weakness in oral musculature (dysarthria) or an inability to execute the motor movements needed for specific speech sound production (apraxia). Such deficits can be related to pathology of the nervous system (central and /or peripheral systems involved in motor planning) that affect the timing of respiration, phonation, prosody, and articulation in isolation or in conjunction.

This can include difficulties with:

  • Muscles used to create different sounds. This can be due to muscle weakness and may be linked to difficulties like cerebral palsy.
  • Sending messages from the brain to make different speech sounds. This may sometimes be described as ‘dyspraxia’.
  • Learning and using different sounds to make words. This can be called ‘phonological difficulties’.