What Is Dysarthria?

It is not uncommon to hear some people make fun of those who have speech disorders. What these people probably don’t know is that speech disorders are medical problems that should not be the cause of humiliation for the person who has it. One of the more common speech disorders is dysarthria.

Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder wherein the muscles of the mouth, face and the respiratory system may become weak. In severe cases, these parts may not move at all. The severity of a person’s dysarthria depends on the area of the nervous system which is affected by it.

Symptoms of dysarthria

Dysarthria can be detected when a person exhibits the following signs and symptoms:

  • slow rate of speech
  • slurred speech
  • mumbling speech
  • hoarseness
  • poor control of saliva which results in drooling when talking
  • difficulties in chewing
  • difficulties in swallowing
  • limited movement of the lip, jaw, and tongue

How to treat dysarthria?

The signs and symptoms listed above may help in the early detection of a person’s dysarthria. But in order to evaluate that person’s disorder as well as to determine the nature and severity of his or her speech disorder, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) is needed.

The SLP will determine the management of a person’s dysarthria through the movement of the lip, tongue, and face, as well as breath support for speech, voice quality, and more. More than anything else, it is also the job of the SLP to assess which treatment option will work for the person who was diagnosed with Dysarthria.

In cases when a person’s dysarthria is accompanied by excessive drooling, the best treatment option that an SLP would recommend is a surgical procedure and a surgical management. On the other hand, when a person with dysarthria makes unintelligible speech, the SLP would probably focus on improving that person’s communication abilities. These are inclusive of:

  • strengthening muscles
  • improving breath support
  • increasing mouth, lip, and tongue movement
  • slowing the speech rate
  • improving articulation

How to prevent dysarthria?

Because dysarthria is a complex motor speech disorder, the only way to prevent it is by avoiding the neurologic event that causes it.