What is Dysarthria?
Dysarthria is a neurological disorder caused by damage to the central or peripheral nervous system. This condition negatively impacts one’s muscular and motor control. Dysarthria specifically affects face muscles, vocal quality, and breath control. There are five categories of dysarthria: flaccid, spastic, hypo kinetic, hyperkinetic, and ataxic.
What are some symptoms of Dysarthria?
Dysarthria significantly impacts speech, and deficits involve accuracy, speed, and coordination of the oral-motor structures. One may have trouble with articulation, intonation, resonance, phonation, and respiration. Difficulties managing food and swallowing are also common, as are changes in the quality of voice.
How does Dysarthria progress?
Dysarthria occurs suddenly following damage to the brain. Therefore, individuals with dysarthria require immediate attention in order to increase functional communication skills. Since speech-motor control is significantly impacted, treatment focuses on motor movements to improve quality of life (e.g. to increase feeding and swallowing skills).
How do I help treat my child’s Dysarthria?
Treatment for dysarthria begins following an evaluation with a speech-language pathologist to determine the severity of the problem and recommend an appropriate course of treatment. Therapy sessions may include oral-motor activities to increase coordination with the lips and tongue, and respiration and breath control therapy to increase vocal quality and speech production. The primary goal of treatment is to improve overall communication skills by targeting a variety of functional areas including rate, breath support, oral-motor strength, and articulation skills.
Our Approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy
At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, our team of dedicated speech-language pathologists will work with your child to improve his oral-motor structures and quality of speech. We will implement various treatment strategies using multisensory therapy techniques in coordination with a team-based approach. We work closely with your family to improve interactions and communication skills within the home environment. Family members are encouraged to be a part of the treatment process, and the speech-language pathologist will create home programs that your family can implement outside of the clinic to help generalize therapy objectives.