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What is Dysarthria?

Dysarthria (dis-ar-three-a) is a type of speech disorder and typically includes one or more of the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty controlling loudness
  • Nasal sounding speech
  • Monotone voice
  • Effort required to speak more clearly
  • Dysarthria does not affect the ability to understand.

What causes Dysarthria?

Speech involves your lips, tongue and cheek muscles as well as your palate (roof of your mouth) and your voice box. Dysarthria happens because of damage to the nerves that control these muscles.

The nerve damage may be caused by stroke, head injury or other conditions that affect the nervous system eg, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease.

Does anything make it worse?

Speech can become more dysarthric when tired. This is because you have less energy and it takes more effort to make speech clearer.

What treatment is available?

Speech therapy. A Speech and Language Therapist can assess your speech and provide practical suggestions for managing your speech. Your therapist may also recommend exercises.

Is there anything others can do?

Practical suggestions:

  • Respect you as an equal - your intelligence is not affected by your speech.
  • Allow time to get your message across
  • Face you when talking to you
  • Sit/stand close to you when talking together
  • Be honest and say when your speech is difficult to understand.

To return to the Speech and Language Therapy home page click here.

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