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The essential feature of a personality disorder is a continuing pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates noticeably from the expectations of the individual's culture and is manifested in at least two of the following areas: cognition/thinking, affectivity/emotional expression, interpersonal functioning, or impulse control.This persistent pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations, and leads to clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.The pattern is stable and of long duration, which means its onset can be traced back to at least adolescence or early adulthood.This pattern is not better accounted for as a manifestation or consequence of another mental disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (such as drug abuse, medication, exposure to a toxin) or a general medical condition (such as head trauma).Among the more common speech impairments encountered at Allegheny are stuttering, chronic hoarseness, difficulty in evoking an appropriate word or term, and esophageal speech (resulting from a laryngectomy).

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These individuals feel so unable to function alone that they will agree with things that they feel are wrong rather than risk losing the help of those to whom they look for guidance.Individuals with this disorder feel uncomfortable or helpless when alone, because of their exaggerated fears of being unable to care for themselves.When a close relationship ends (such as a breakup with a lover or the death of a caregiver), individuals with dependent personality disorder may urgently seek another relationship to provide the care and support they need.Students whose disability prevents signing, writing, or typing may use electronic voice synthesizing equipment that has a keyboard activated by a head pointer or mouth wand.Most Allegheny students with speech impairments are able to sign, write, and type.