Motor Speech Disorders

Dysarthria

Dysarthria is a speech disorder caused by specific or general weakness of the articulators in the mouth: lips, tongue, soft palate, vocal folds, and diaphragm (which controls breathing).  Patients with dysarthria may sound like their speech is slurred and difficult to understand. They may also speak too fast or too softly to be well understood, or have poor respiratory support or resonance of sound.

Dysarthria is caused by damage to the brain or nerves descending from the brain.  Speech will sound different depending on where the damage occurred in the neurological system, as different speech systems will be affected. 

Apraxia

Apraxia is another motor speech disorder that is caused by neurological damage to the brain.  It is different than dysarthria, however, because apraxia is not caused by weakness of the oral structures.  Instead, the message from the brain to the mouth to plan the movement of each speech sound is disrupted, making it difficult to initiate speech, or result in groping to achieve the right oral movement to form a word.  Apraxia can occur with dysarthria and aphasia.

At Lake Regional, our speech therapy team has many years of experience evaluating and treating motor speech disorders through use of direct training to the affected muscles or neurological deficit, and compensations to improve intelligibility and ease of speech production.  

For more information about dysarthria, please visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) website.

For more information about dysarthria, please visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) website Dysarthia page.