Introduction

The following are example case studies that illustrate some of the kinds of children and adults I see with communication disorders. These are combinations of real individuals, each study presenting some characteristics of therapy for that particular communication disorder. Remember, no two people are exactly the same nor do they respond the same in therapy. That, in fact, is one of the joys and challenges of helping people improve their communication. Remember also that an experienced clinician has a number of tools at his/her disposal. The methods illustrated here are not the only effective ways to facilitate change. Finally, the cases illustrated here have mostly successful outcomes but there are children and adults who do not make the amount of change we would like, for a variety of reasons. There are no guarantees in speech therapy. As I tell parents, if you find someone who guarantees a particular result in speech therapy, run the other way.

Case Studies

Below are a few composite examples of the type of people I see in my speech therapy case load. I also work with people with oral myofunctional disorders (including tongue thrust swallow problems), voice disorders, cerebral palsy, speech problems as a result of cleft lip and palate, a relatively rare fluency disorder known as cluttering, and people with acquired brain damage due to strokes or closed head injuries. These individuals often have aphasia (loss of language due to brain damage) or dysarthria (difficulty with articulation due to neurological damage, often resulting in muscle weakness).

Speech therapy is a relationship between the clinician and the patient that has to be built and maintained, and the therapy process has to be rewarding, either for the result it will produce (older children, teens, and adults) or because the therapy itself is fun and interesting.

I have assigned names to each example, but the names do not refer to particular persons.

Jay: A Preschooler with Stuttering »
Mitchell: A Boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder »
Sophie: A Little Girl with an Articulation Disorder »
Jeffrey: A Toddler with Down Syndrome »
Charles: An Adult with Developmental Disabilities »
Albert: A Second Grade Boy with an Expressive Language Disorder »
Henry: A 35 year old Adult with Stuttering »
Jasmine: A Three Year Old Girl with Childhood Apraxia of Speech »
Linda and Jeff: Parents of a 26 Month Old Boy Slightly Behind in Talking »