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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)

"Positive and coordinated neuro-rehab interventions for children and young people is prove to bring health improvements; improve independence; a decline in the need for sheltered living; decreases vulnerability; decreases drop-out rates in schools; decreases youth offending"
Eric Hermans; Netherlands
"Our 10 year study proves that family-led home-based neuro-rehab interventions deliver the best outcomes for children and young people"
Lucia Braga; Brazil
"There are problems with getting people into neuro-rehab centres. Those most in need are often those most excluded due to a lack of socio-economic resources."
Vicki Anderson; Australia
"Often families don't have the financial capability to access services. We need to rethink how we delivery neuro-rehab services to children and young people"
Vicki Anderson; Australia
"We need to harness the power of brain plasticity for treating children and young people with brain injury. Stressful experiences alter brain development of a child, especially at the key ages of 0-3 and at ages 10-16"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"Strength-based family intervention after pediatric ABI is essential. Parents need to be equipped with the skills to cope and advocate for the child."
Caron Gan; Canada
"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
"New parenting support intervention showed how parenting style is related to executive dysfunction in children and young people post brain injury. With support parents cope better so the child has a better recovery"
Andrea Palacio-Navarro; Spain
"Parent-supported interventions following pediatric ABI bring reductions to the cost to society"
Eric Hermans; Netherlands
"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

OUR MISSION: To work to remove (health) 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 Lottery Funded