Voice & Fluency
A voice disorder is any deviation in pitch, intensity, quality or other basic vocal attributes which consistently interferes with overall communication. Many voice disorders tend to be organic in nature and require to diagnosis of a physician. Some disorders may be functional in nature (i.e. vocal abuse). Therapy for vocal disorders can focus on identification of improper vocal use as well techniques and strategies for correct vocal use.
Fluency is the disruption or break in the smooth flow of speech. It can be characterized by sound/word repetitions, sound prolongation, excessive use of interjections (i.e. "uh") and silent pauses. In addition, some students may exhibit secondary characteristics which may include head, arm or feet movement along with their disfluencies. Fluency concerns may cause a child to be reluctant to orally participate. The student may avoid conversations or discussions. They may have limited peer relationships due to poor self-image, frustration or disrespectful treatment from others. Overall, children who are dysfluent tend to lack confidence in all speaking situations. The focus in fluency therapy includes: Teaching of relaxation techniques. Breath control to manipulate air flow. Variations of speaking rate (i.e. slow and steady speech.) Strategies for easy onset of tongue, lips and teeth placements. Strategies to manipulate pausing and chunking of short phases to control rhythm of speech.