Many adults struggle with speech disorders caused by a cognitive condition, hearing problem or as the result of stroke or accident. Speech pathologists work with these patients to help them develop and improve pronunciation and word recognition. Instructors can engage speech-disorder patients in enjoyable activities that allow them to practice necessary skills in a relaxed atmosphere.
Dysarthria is a condition where muscle weakness in the jaw and mouth area cause problems with speaking. Dysarthria is often the result of a disease like cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's Disease or a stroke or accident causing damage to the brain. One way to improve the muscle movements is an activity that uses oral motor therapy. The instructor asks the patient to pretend he is a mirror. The patient is to mimic the movements the instructor makes. These movements include making silly faces, smiling and frowning, blowing kisses and using the tongue to lick all the way around the lips. This is activity exercises necessary mouth muscles to improve speech function.
Activity for Stuttering
Stuttering is also a common speech problem. This disorder causes the person to repeat or leave out certain sounds when she is speaking. The stuttering problem is often magnified on the phone. Instructors ask the patient to request prices for a list of very specific items, from several different stores. This activity allows patients to practice talking on the phone in a real situation, which can be more effective than role-played scenarios.
Activity for Apraxia
Another speech problem that adults can have is apraxia or motor speech disorder. This condition is caused by damage to the speech-related areas of the brain. Patients with apraxia have difficulty putting the sounds of syllables together to make words. Therapists engage patients in an activity that slows down the pace of speech and practices sounds over and over. The patient reads a list of simple sentences while a metronome taps out a slow pattern of speech. The patient repeats the first sentence over and over to the beat of the metronome. When the first sentence is mastered, he moves on the next sentence.