A speech disorder due to muscle weakness of the tongue, lips, face, vocal folds and/or diaphragm.

Signs or Symptoms of Dysarthria (ASHA)
  • “Slurred,” “choppy,” or “mumbled” speech that may be difficult to understand
  • Slow rate of speech
  • Rapid rate of speech with a “mumbling” quality
  • Limited tongue, lip, and jaw movement
  • Abnormal pitch and rhythm when speaking
  • Changes in voice quality, such as hoarse or breathy voice or speech that sounds “nasal” or “stuffy”
Communication Tips for the Person with Dysarthria
  • Introduce your topic with a single word or short phrase before beginning to speak in more complete sentences.
  • Check with the listeners to make sure that they understand you.
  • Speak slowly and loudly and pause frequently.
  • Try to limit conversations when you feel tired—when your speech will be harder to understand.
  • If you become frustrated, try to use other methods, such as pointing or gesturing, to get your message across or take a rest and try again later.

(Children may need additional help to remember to use these strategies.)

Communication Tips for the Listener
  • Reduce distractions and background noise.
  • Pay attention to the speaker.
  • Watch the person as he or she talks.
  • Let the speaker know when you have difficulty understanding him or her.
  • Repeat only the part of the message that you understood so that the speaker does not have to repeat the entire message.
  • If you still don’t understand the message, ask yes/no questions or have the speaker write his or her message to you.