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What are the Most Common Speech Disorders in Adults?

Learn about the five most common speech disorders in senior adults and how speech therapy can help.
Speech Therapy in Mclean VA
Speech Therapy in Mclean VA

You might not always realize that speech disorders can occur at any age. Speech therapy isn’t just a service for children, it’s often important in old age, especially after a stroke, throat cancer diagnosis, or as dementia advances.

Older adults often need speech therapy to assist with strengthening throat muscles, the ability to swallow, and to make communication easier. Here are five of the most common speech disorders in older adults:


Apraxia occurs when the tongue and lips do not move in a way that produces sounds. It can make it hard to speak or say the right words. It can be the result of dementia, a traumatic brain injury, stroke, or brain tumor.

Speech therapy helps people with apraxia learn how to strengthen and use those muscles correctly. It’s done by performing exercises that follow specific patterns.


Sometimes, the left side of the brain stops functioning correctly and that impacts speech and language processing. It doesn’t have to follow a stroke, but that is one of the leading causes. If your dad struggles to read, write, and speak, aphasia may be the diagnosis.

Your dad will work with a speech therapist to find ways to communicate effectively. It might be by typing on a computer or tablet, pointing at pictures, or using simple sign language or hand gestures.


The main signs of dysarthria are imprecise or slurred speech. It occurs when brain damage leads to weaker muscles involved in the process of speech. It’s often the result of ALS, brain tumors, cerebral palsy, MS, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s.

A speech language pathologist is going to work with your dad to determine what the underlying causes are and how to help your dad slow down and improve clarity. This often starts by exercising the muscles of the lips, tongue, and mouth.

Spasmodic Dysphonia

In spasmodic dysphonia, the muscles in the vocal folds tighten and may spasm. With the vocal cords too tight, speech is impaired. A speech therapist can help determine what caused it and what exercises may help loosen them up to be able to speak again.


Stuttering often occurs in childhood, but there are neurodegenerative conditions that can cause it later in life. If your dad begins stuttering, it can be the result of a head injury, stroke, meningitis, Parkinson’s, or a brain tumor.

For a speech therapist to help with stuttering, the initial appointment will determine when the stutter started occurring. You’ll discuss how much the stutter impacts your dad’s social activities and if it comes and goes or is always present.

He may learn exercises to help him get through specific sounds or words that trigger the stutter. Slowing down his speech may help, or he might have to use technology to assist him.

Arrange to have your dad work with a speech therapist to help him communicate his needs to others. Whether he has dementia, had a stroke, or had an injury or illness that affected his vocal cords, communication is essential. Speech therapy sessions will help him rebuild skills or find new ways to ensure he’s able to get his message across.

If you or an aging loved-one is considering Speech Therapy in Mclean, VA, please contact the caring staff at Passion Home Health Solutions LLC today at 703-462-9141

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