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.