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)

"When different organisations assess different aspects of a child's neuro-rehabilitation needs, everyone looks at things from a different perspective and have conflicting priorities"
Cathy Jonson; Rehab without Walls; United Kingdom.
"When someone has a brain injury, early access to local, specialist rehabilitation is crucial to ensure the maximum recovery and make significant savings to the state in health costs"
Headway; United Kingdom
"Different 'experts' involved in paediatric neuro-rehabilitation come from different organisational cultures which causes conflict and has a negative effect on the outcomes for the child."
Barbara O'Connell; Ireland
"Positive and coordinated neuro-rehab interventions for children and young people is proven to bring health improvements; improve independence; reduces the need for sheltered living; decreases vulnerability; decreases drop-out rates in schools; decreases youth offending"
Eric Hermans; Netherlands
"NHS clinicians struggle with what intervention to prioritise in paediatric neuro-rehabilitation due to limited clinical time and the complexity of needs. Children, clinicians, parents and schools all have different neuro-rehabilitation priorities"
Recolo; United Kingdom
Child 1 - Aged 14 and 3 years after a traumatic brain injury
2019 2020 Change
REASONING 301/800 426/800   +  125
MEMORY 181/800 304/800   +  123
ATTENTION 463/800 573/800   +  110
COORDINATION 47/800 309/800   +  262
PERCEPTION 158/800 374/800   +  216
"Participation in teen sports and normal activities leads to improved quality of life for children and young people post brain injury and helps to maximise outcomes"
Claire Willis; Australia
"With support parents cope better so the child has a better recovery"
Andrea Palacio-Navarro; Spain
"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
"My colleague was blown away by the tremendous work your organisation is doing for society."  Social Worker

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