Dysarthria is a disorder of speech. It is a motor disorder, which means that the muscles which help produce speech are affected.
Dysarthria can be present from birth due to brain changes before or during birth. This is known as 'Developmental Dysarthria'.
Dysarthria can also be acquired as a result of changes in the brain, for example, due to medical conditions such as a stroke, or a traumatic brain injury. This type of Dysarthria is usually referred to as 'Acquired Dysarthria'.
Dysarthria can affect any of the following areas:
- respiration - breathing
- phonation - the vibration of the vocal folds (voicing)
- facial musculature
- diadochokinesis - the ability to rapidly alternate muscular movements
- articulation - the production of clear speech sounds
- intelligibility - speech clarity
- prosody - rhythm of speech
- communicative competence - the ability to use language to communicate successfully
As Dysarthria is a speech disorder, it is separate to the understanding of language. However, due to its neurological nature, it can sometimes coincide with cognitive difficulties, which may affect a person's language skills.
How we can help
Our therapists will be able to assess the individual's strengths and difficulties, such as the ability to make different sounds, talk spontaneously, and the movement of the muscles in the mouth.
Therapy input will be tailored to suit the individual's needs. Goals may include working on breath support, improving speech clarity, and strengthening certain muscles of the face/mouth. We can also provide advice on augmentative and alternative communication systems, such as a communication aid, if needed.