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Peninsula Community Health


What is Dysarthria?

Dysarthria is a speech difficulty caused by paralysis, weakness or poor co-ordination of the muscles we use for talking.

This means someone’s speech may be; slow, hesitant and or slurred. They may sound breathy, quiet, or strained. Depending on the severity of the dysarthria they may be a little unclear or very difficult to understand.

It can affect the person’s ability to take part in everyday activities including work and socialising. They may also have problems with drooling and or swallowing.

Dysarthria is caused by many different conditions that involve the nervous system, including the following:

  • Stroke
  • Brain injury
  • Tumours
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Progressive neurological condition such as:
    Multiple Sclerosis
    Motor Neurone Disease 
  • Medications

How Can Speech and Language Therapy Help?

Speech and Language Therapists can offer assessment, advice, therapy and support to patients and carers. 

Treatment will depend on the cause, type and severity of the symptoms. The aim will be to improve communication by working with the person with dysarthria and/or their family/carers.

It may include:

  • Learning strategies to improve communication
  • A therapy programme aimed at improving volume and/or clarity of speech
  • Alternative means of supporting communication such as an alphabet board, amplifier or other communication aid as appropriate for the individual.

Case Study

Due to her Parkinson’s Mrs C was very frustrated and embarrassed at being asked to repeat herself when out shopping. 

She had started getting other people to do her shopping for her. However, this also reduced her social interactions, as it was when she was shopping that she would often see people she knew and stop for a chat, or even sometimes a coffee. This resulted in her becoming more isolated and low in mood.

The speech and language therapist was able to teach her strategies which allowed her to undertake her shopping more confidently and successfully. She went back to doing her own shopping and therefore had more opportunities for a chat. Her mood improved as she was less isolated.