Dysarthria refers to a group of neurogenic speech disorders characterized by “abnormalities in the strength, speed, range, steadiness, tone, or accuracy of movements required for breathing, phonatory, resonatory, articulatory, or prosodic aspects of speech production” (Duffy, 2020, p. 3).

These changes are due to one or more sensorimotor problems, including weakness or paralysis; incoordination; involuntary movements; or excessive, reduced, or variable muscle tone (Duffy, 2020). Dysarthria can adversely affect intelligibility of speech and/or naturalness of speech. Dysarthria may also co-occur with other neurogenic language, cognitive, and swallowing disorders.

Intervention is designed to

  • capitalize on strengths and address weaknesses related to underlying structures and functions that affect communication across partners, activities, and settings;
  • optimize the retention of new motor skills by implementing principles of motor learning (Maas et al., 2008);
  • facilitate the individual’s activity and participation by (a) teaching new skills and compensatory strategies to the individual with dysarthria and their partner(s) and (b) incorporating augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies if appropriate; and
  • modify contextual factors that serve as barriers to and enhance the factors that facilitate successful communication and participation, including development and use of appropriate accommodations.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2016). Scope of practice in speech-language pathology [Scope of practice]. https://www.asha.org/policy/
Duffy, J. R. (2020). Motor speech disorders: Substrates, differential diagnosis, and management (4th ed.). Elsevier.

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