Definition: the term dysarthria indicates language (speech) disorders.
Due to the lack of control of the muscles that allow articulation, that is the ability of the individual to produce articulated sounds (phonemes).
Dysarthria is a disorder that mainly affects the execution of the movement.
What are the causes?
Dysarthria is caused by damage to the central or peripheral nervous system, which can occur with the appearance of multiple pathologies, such as:
- Degenerative diseases (such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease),
- Inflammatory diseases (such as encephalitis or polyneuritis),
- Toxic metabolic diseases,
- Cranial trauma
- Vascular diseases
What are the symptoms?
A person with dysarthria may show some of the following characteristics:
- Speech disorders and difficulty to be understood,
- Little ability to process complex sentences,
- Limited movements of the tongue, jaw, and lips,
- Abnormal speech rhythm,
- Changes in the quality of the voice.
Speech therapy evaluation and treatment
The speech therapist has to control the movements of the tongue, lips, facial muscles, and breathing, which are vital elements for language and voice quality.
Treatment depends on the severity, cause, and type of symptoms. The objectives of the treatment are:
– Reduce the speed of speech if it is too fast;
– Improve breathing and invite the patient to raise their voice;
– Strengthen the muscles that intervene in the joint;
– Improve the speech, exaggerating the movements to make the speech more understandable;
– Transmit strategies to family members to better communicate with the disabled person;
– In severe cases, use alternative means of communication (gestures, alphabet communication cards, computers)
Tips for the disarmed person:
– Introduce the topic with a keyword or short phrase before beginning to speak with complex sentences,
– Always check if the listener understands it,
– Speak loudly and slowly, pronouncing the words and making frequent breaks,
– Limit the conversations when you are tired as the intelligibility of speech is reduced,
– Make use of alternative communication channels when you can not make yourself understood (gestures, writing, sign language, etc.);
– Take a break when you feel tired and resume communication at a later time.
Advice for the person who listens:
– Reduce background noise and distractions;
– Pay special attention to the person speaking;
– Look in the eyes of the person speaking;
– Be clear with the disartic person, so that he can understand it clearly,
– Repeat the part of the message that was not well understood aloud; it is not necessary to repeat the whole sentence,