Improving Dysarthria with
Effective Exercises

Dysarthria is an articulation disorder caused by weakness or paralysis of the oral muscles (the muscles associated with speech).

These muscles include: the jaw, lips, tongue, and palate
(the "roof of your mouth").

Speech therapy for dysarthria

The effects of dysarthria are treated by speech pathologists using an exercise routine to generate speech improvements.

More importantly, recent studies utilizing intensive speech therapy have demonstrated substantial results in improving the symptoms of speech disorders.

The opportunity for you to put an effective exercise routine into practice will be discussed in more detail. However, as speech pathologists, we would like to begin by providing you with a complete understanding of this speech disorder:

What are the Causes?

The cause is due to damage to the nerves directly connected to the oral muscles. It is classified as an oral-motor deficit and is treated by qualified speech-language pathologists.

It is often a result of disease, such as:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or "Lou Gehrig's Disease"

However, it can also be acquired as the result of:

  • A Cerebral Vascular Accident (stroke)
  • Head Injury
  • Exposure to Toxic Substances

Common Characteristics

Typical symptoms include:

  • Oral muscle weakness
  • Difficulty with oral coordination
  • Speech may have a "nasal quality"
  • Breath isn't supporting the voice, resulting in a "low speaking voice"
  • Overall speech sounds are slurred or garbled

Types Of Dysarthria

There are four commonly identified types of dysarthria. The cause of each type is determined by what is called, the site of lesion. This refers to a specific location in the brain where damaged occurred.

Each site of lesion (area of damage) will cause specific speech deficits:

1. Ataxic: This is characterized by slow, erratic speech. Articulation errors may be somewhat irregular. Breathing coordination is frequently poor.

2. Flaccid: Speech is characterized by a nasal quality (sounding as if "speaking through your nose") and a "breathy" voice due to poor closure of the vocal cords (resulting in low volume). Consonant sounds are especially difficult to articulate.

3. Spastic: As with flaccid dysarthria, consonants are mostly difficult to articulate. Speech is usually slow and seemingly strenuous. There is very little, if any, raising or lowering of vocal pitch (sounding like a "monotone voice").

4. Mixed: This includes a variety of characteristics described in the types above. The specific symptoms will vary from person to person.

For more information on this speech disorder, including organizations, agencies, Internet resources, reports, and research projects, please visit the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)

Tips for helping a loved one with Dysarthria

  • Give the person extended time to talk. Do your best to be patient.
  • If you can't understand their speech, encourage other means of communicating such as, writing the message, pointing to objects or pictures, or by making gestures.
  • Always look at the person’s lips and face, to get additional visual information.
  • Remind the person to speak slowly and exaggerate each sound.

  • If unsure of what the person said, you can repeat the information back to them to confirm the message.
  • Be respectful. Remember that the person is an adult with a speech disorder.
  • Hold conversations in a place with no distractions.
  • Always present a positive attitude.

Improve your Speech with an Effective Exercise Routine at Home!

Professional speech therapy and oral-motor therapy are used to improve speech clarity and oral coordination.

Speech therapy focuses on improving speech intelligibility (how well your speech can be understood by others) while oral-motor therapy focuses on improving coordination of the jaw, lips, and tongue.

Together, oral-motor therapy and speech therapy will provide the exercises needed to improve your speech!

Get the Exercises you Need on DVD!

Since daily practice is necessary for significant improvement we are here to provide you with a quality solution:

Oral Motor Exercises and Speech Therapy On DVD

At this time all our DVDs are 30% their original price!

dysarthria exercises on DVD

All of the professional exercises used to improve speech intelligibility are now available on DVD!

Designed by experienced speech-language pathologists, these videos allow you to practice successful oral-motor therapy and speech therapy at any time and in the comfort of your own home.

View our videos of professional exercises to improve your dysarthria!

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