Dysarthria

What is dysarthria?

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.

What are some signs or symptoms of dysarthria?

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"

What causes dysarthria?

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,
  • tumors,
  • Parkinson's disease,
  • Lou Gehrig's disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),
  • Huntington's disease,
  • multiple sclerosis.

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Advanced Technology and Research, Inc and Walton Rehabilation Center has been competitively awarded a Small Business Innovation Research grant by NIH for "Improving the Usability of Speech Technology for Speakers with Dysarthria".

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