Dysarthria is a disorder of speech following a neurological injury. People suffering from dysarthria find it difficult to articulate (ability to speak clearly and coherently) words as the muscles used for speech become impaired. There can be many different causes and reasons for dysarthria.
Speech and language therapy will help to support an individual with dysarthria by providing them with an individualised treatment programme to maximise their communication.
What is dysarthria?
Dysarthria is caused by a nervous system disorder which eventually causes problems with the muscles such as; lips, tongue, throat and lungs. This in turn, affects a person's speech. A person suffering from dysarthria may have trouble making the shape for a particular sound to be articulated. This may lead to a distortion or substitution of sound. There are many different symptoms of dysarthria and someone may experience different ones depending on the severity of their condition. Some common symptoms are listed below:
- Abnormal rhythmical breathing.
- Weakness of voice
- Nasal speech
- Eating, drinking and swallowing problems
- Lack of control of saliva
- Rough / hoarse voice
- Limited movement of facial muscles
- Slow speech
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty with whispering
What causes dysarthria?
There are a lot of different possible causes of dysarthria, as well as many different factors which can influence the severity of a person's symptoms of dysarthria. The following is a list of possible causes of dysarthria:
How is dysarthria diagnosed?
Dysarthria is diagnosed by a team of medical professionals, and will include a speech and language therapist. Diagnosing a patient will take many different aspects into consideration and will be done soon after initial assessments have been done in hospital. The speech and language therapist is the main professional who is able to identify and give a diagnosis of dysarthria.
What problems caused by dysarthria can speech and language therapy help with?
Speech and language therapy can help with many different aspects of dysarthria and will depend on the person's ability, as well as the priority of what they wish to work on. Speech and language therapy may include some or all of the following:
- attention and listening problems
- expressive language problems
- speech sound problems
- communication problems
- eating, drinking & swallowing difficulties
Benefits of speech and language therapy include:
- Improved speech
- Improved voice
- Increased confidence and self esteem
- Communication benefits
- Eating, drinking and swallowing benefits
How does speech and language therapy help dysarthria?
Speech and language therapy can be helpful with a number of different aspects and symptoms of dysarthria. Things a therapist will work on with a client may include the following:
- Investigating articulation techniques so that speech can be more clear.
- Investigating breath support strategies, which enable a patient to speak louder.
- If necessary, introducing other methods of communication. For example, gesture, sign or communication boards known as alternative and augmentative communication.
- Exercises for mouth and tongue movement to encourage lip rounding
- Techniques for family and friends to use to enable effective communication.
What would speech and language therapy treatment for dysarthria involve?
Speech and language therapy for dysarthria will involve an initial assessment to discover the next steps for treatment and to devise a speech and language therapy plan. After this, speech and language therapy may take all or some of the following forms:
- One to One Therapy
- Clinic Visits
- home visits
- Consultative Role
- Alternative and Augmentative Communication
- Advice and Education
- Individual Therapy
- Group Therapy
How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment?
To arrange an assessment with one our speech and language therapists for please call 0330 0885 643 or email email@example.com and we will be happy to help.
Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder resulting from a neurological problem and affects the muscles of the head neck and face. Speech and language therapy can be very beneficial. Each person's treatment will be tailored to their own specific needs and motivations. An initial assessment will be done to assess what route of therapy to take. To book an appointment with one of our speech and language therapists please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 0885 643.
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