Motor Impairments and Speech

Motor Impairments
If you are interested in
having your child
evaluated for
speech/language or
feeding difficulties,
please contact us at
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
Pediatric Speech -Language
Pathology Department
1540 East Hospital Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
Pediatric Speech -Language
Pathology Department
Tel: (734) 763-2554
How Might Motor Impairments Affect
Speech/Language Development?
Motor impairments affect body
movement, muscle control, muscle
coordination, muscle tone and reflexes.
This includes the muscles in the face,
mouth, throat, tongue, and larynx used to
produce speech (and for eating and
swallowing). For some children with
motor impairments, the ability to
vocalize and/or use oral language may be
impaired or difficult to understand even
though the child's underlying cognitive
and linguistic abilities are intact.
How can a Speech-Language
Pathologist (SLP) Help?
Working with the full range of human
communication, SLPs evaluate and
diagnose speech, language, cognitivecommunication, and swallowing
disorders and treat such disorders in
individuals (ASHA, 2013). SLPs
provide intervention to improve speech
production and facilitate language
development, assess and provide
intervention to improve swallowing
function, and use augmentative and
alternative forms of communication
when speech is unintelligible or difficult
to produce.
What is Augmentative/Alternative
Communication (AAC)?
Augmentative/Alternative Communication
provides children with motor impairments with
a means of communicating with familiar and
unfamiliar communication partners. This can be
done by enhancing natural speech production
(augmentative communication) or replacing
verbal language with a no-tech, low-tech, or
high-tech communication system (alternative
Different Types of AAC
•Physical Communication: gestures, body
language, facial expression, sign language,
interpreted eye gaze.
•Symbol Communication: Picture Exchange
Communication System (PECS),
communication boards using printed pictures,
alphabet board, wipe board, paper/pencil.
•Simple Switches: buttons with recorded
voice messages.
•Simple speech-generating devices:
replaceable picture boards that overlay
buttons with recorded voice messages (432 icons) that can be activated directly or
with a switch.
•Dedicated speech-generating devices: a
computer or tablet equipped with
communication software that provides
digital and/or recorded messages linked to
icons that can be activated directly or
through alternative means (e.g., eye gaze,
hand, head, or chin switches, head