Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder. The muscles of the face, mouth, and respiratory system are weak and move slowly or do not move at all. Dysarthria is a nervous system disorder. Children with dysarthria can understand language but may have difficulty with speaking, breathing and eating.

Some causes of dysarthria include stroke, brain injury, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy.

Symptoms vary and include;

  • Slurred speech
  • Speaking softly or whispering
  • Speaking slowly
  • Mumbling
  • Limited tongue, lip, and jaw movement
  • Abnormal intonation (rhythm) when speaking
  • Sounding "stuffy" or “nasal”
  • Hoarseness
  • Breathiness
  • Drooling
  • Chewing and swallowing difficulty

A speech language pathologist (SLP) will review your child’s medical history and discuss your concerns. She will look at your child’s mouth, lips, tongue and face, and breath support for speech. The SLP will listen to your child’s voice and assess your child’s ability to speak.

After the evaluation the SLP will discuss the results and talk with you about treatment.

Treatment with a SLP may help your child to speak more clearly, eat and swallow and be able to breathe better. She may work with you and your child to use augmentative or alternative communication equipment.

Your therapist will give you activities and exercise to work with your child at home.

Copyright © , Intermountain Healthcare, All rights reserved.