Dysarthria

Physical Communication Cognitive Behavioural / Emotional

Dysarthria is caused by damage to the brain. This may occur at birth, as in cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, or may occur later in life due to one of many different conditions that involve the nervous system, including

  • stroke,
  • brain injury,
  • tumours,
  • Parkinson’s disease,
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),
  • Huntington’s disease,
  • Multiple sclerosis.

Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder. It results from impaired movement of the muscles used for speech production, including the lips, tongue, vocal folds, and/or diaphragm. The type and severity of dysarthria depend on which area of the nervous system is affected.

A person with dysarthria may demonstrate the following speech characteristics:

  • “Slurred,” “choppy,” or “mumbled” speech that may be difficult to understand
  • Slow rate of speech
  • Rapid rate of speech with a “mumbling” quality
  • Limited tongue, lip, and jaw movement
  • Abnormal pitch and rhythm when speaking
  • Changes in voice quality, such as hoarse or breathy voice or speech that sounds “nasal” or “stuffy”

A speech and language therapist can evaluate a person with speech difficulties and determine the nature and severity of the problem. Treatment depends on the cause, type, and severity of the symptoms. Some possible goals of treatment include:

  • Slowing the rate of speech
  • Improving the breath support so the person can speak more loudly
  • Strengthening muscles
  • Increasing tongue and lip movement
  • Improving speech sound production so that speech is more clear
  • Teaching caregivers, family members, and teachers strategies to better communicate with the person with dysarthria
  • In severe cases, learning to use alternative means of communication (e.g., simple gestures, alphabet boards, or electronic or computer-based equipment)

"Brain development is complex and prolonged. Brain plasticity is influenced by a range of factors. Plasticity provides a base for neuro-rehab therapies and treatment"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"Pediatric neuro-rehabilitation cannot be delivered in isolation. The needs of the child have to be looked at both holistically and within the context of the family unit. Parents need to be empowered to be parents in post-acute pediatric neuro-rehabilitation following brain injury"
The Children's Trust; United Kingdom
"With support parents cope better so the child has a better recovery"
Andrea Palacio-Navarro; Spain
"Rehabilitation interventions can lead to positive outcomes for children and their families if delivered in the familiar home environment and applied to everyday situations"
Cerebra; United Kingdom
"Case management for children and young people post acquired brain injury is 'pivotal' to successful outcomes and must be local"
Deborah Andrews; New Zealand
"Children and young people have poor social competence post brain injury due to reduced cognition, executive functions, and emotional control. As a result they are twice as likely to have mental health issues in the future"
James Tonks; University of London
"Intensive and individualized approaches work. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't. You have to make it relevant to the child."
Recolo; United Kingdom
"Too often children and young people with ABI are discharged from hospital without specialist brain support that they and their families need to overcome lifelong challenges"
Andrew Ross; former Chief Executive of the Children's Trust
"We are medical practitioners. The real experts are the parents. Over the last 35 years they have taught me everything I know"
Lucia Braga; Brazil
"There are problems with getting people into neuro-rehab. Those most in need are often those most excluded due to a lack of socio-economic resources."
Vicki Anderson; Australia

OUR MISSION: To work to remove inequalities for children & young people affected by acquired brain injury; and provide effective support to their families that makes a real difference.

Council for Disabled Children Community Funded Charity Excellence Lottery Funded Youth Foundation BBC CiN