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Slurred & Unclear Speech - Tips to manage Dysarthria

Dysarthria is the term used to classify changes in speech quality and clarity.

Speech symptoms of Dysarthria include :

· Slurred

· Slow

· Hypernasal

· Quiet

Dysarthria is defined as weakness or paralysis of the speech muscles.

Dysarthria is often characterised by reduced speed and range of movement in articulators (muscles that are responsible for ‘articulation’ or ‘speaking).

Dysarthria can be caused by a number of conditions, including:

· Paralysis of the speech muscles

· Developmental disorders e.g. Down Syndrome

· Illness or injury

· Brain Tumour

· Parkinson’s Disease

· Multiple Sclerosis

· Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

· Cerebral Palsy

· Huntington’s Disease

Speech Pathology Intervention can provide personalised therapy programs to assist people with Dysarthria.

The overall goal of therapy is to improve speech clarity & precision in order to be:

- Better understood by others

- Support independence

- Improve self esteem

- Have more successful interactions with others

The key to improving speech clarity is to focus on coordination of movement.

Here are some quick tips to support people with Dysarthria:

1. Minimise Background Nose

2. Make Eye Contact

3. Be near others when you talk

4. Clear saliva before speaking

5. Reduce speaking rate

6. Think about over-articulating or over exaggerating your mouth movements when you communicate

7. Pause between words or sentences

8. Shorten the length of phrases you say in one breath, to avoid running out of air

9. Finger tapping technique; Tap your index finger and your thumb together for each word you say

There a number of Speech therapy treatment programs available to assist people with Dysarthria.

Specialised Speech Pathology integrates personally-relevant tasks within evidence-based treatments and strategies.

Our goal is to work with people to identify the most appropriate and achievable way forward, to enable optimal outcomes & enjoyment along the way!


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