Dysarthria (Slurred/Unclear Speech)
Dysarthria results from impaired movement of the muscles that are required produce speech. This can include the lips, tongue, vocal folds, and/or diaphragm. Dysarthria causes speech to sound slurred and/or unclear. There are many different subtypes of dysarthria depending on the cause and the muscles and structures that are affected. It is important to remember that dysarthria does not affect intelligence or comprehension.
Depending on the type of dysarthria present, an individual may notice changes with:
- Respiration (breathing)
- Vocal quality and intensity
- Articulation (speech sounds may become imprecise)
- Rate of speech
- Pauses in speech
- Syllable stress
Dysarthria may be present in individuals who have suffered from a Stroke, as well as those with Parkinson’s Disease, Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis, among others.
At Magnolia Speech & Wellness a typical assessment consists of gathering in depth background information and completing formal and informal assessments. Assessments are completed based upon the extent of the difficulties and needs of the client.
At Magnolia Speech & Wellness, our Speech-Language Pathologists will complete an evaluation to determine the type of dysarthria and severity level. An individual plan of treatment is then developed for each client. Treatment may include some combination of structured exercises, compensatory strategies, and/or alternative/augmentative communication, as needed.
Exercises: The SLP may implement speech exercises to improve the underlying issues (e.g., muscle strengthening exercises, exercises to improve breath support for speech, etc.).
Compensatory strategies: The SLP may also provide education of compensatory speaking strategies to improve speech intelligibility despite the presence of dysarthria.
Alternative/ augmentative communication: In severe cases, learning to use an alternative means of communication (either temporarily or long-term) can be beneficial to improve quality of life and ability to express wants and needs. This could include some combination of a communication board, gestures, pointing, and/or a speech- generating device.
At Magnolia Speech & Wellness we strive to make therapy fun, engaging and extremely functional, based on individual client needs. Consistent home practice is always highly recommended and essential in order to achieve successful results. Our services cater to the needs of our clients and their family. As a result, sessions range in length, frequency, and duration.