What is Dysarthria?
Dysarthria is a speech difficulty leading to weakness or difficulty moving the muscles used for speech. Dysarthria can affect the muscles of the face and mouth, for example, the muscles of the tongue, lips and soft palate. Dysarthria can also affect the muscles involved with breathing.
This can result in:
- slurred, slow or effortful speech
- speech that is difficult to understand
- running out of breath while speaking
- weakness of the face on one side or drooling
- changes to how the voice sounds
Why does dysarthria occur?
You may have a dysarthria as a result of:
- Head/brain injury
- Brain tumour or cranial nerve surgery
- Neurological disorders (e.g. MND, MS, Parkinson’s)
How is dysarthria managed?
If you are having difficulties speaking you will be seen by a Speech & Language Therapist. They will assess which muscles are affected, and provide advice to help you to communicate more effectively.
What can I do?
When you are speaking try and remember To:
- Speak slowly.
- Speak loudly.
- Over-emphasise words. Put more effort into your face, lips and tongue movements when you are speaking.
- Pause frequently.
- Use gesture and pointing to help communicate your message.
- Use writing and drawing to help communicate what you are saying.
What can other people do to help?
If you are speaking with someone who has dysarthria you may find it helpful to:
- Reduce background noise.
- Face the person when they are talking.
- Leave extra time for them to convey their message.
- Tell them if you cannot understand.
- Speak to them in a normal voice.
- Use writing/drawing to clarify anything you didn’t understand.
- Last Updated:15 May 2018
- Review Date:13 May 2022
- Author:Hannah Treloar & Harriet Doyle
Dysarthria is a speech difficulty leading to weakness or difficulty moving the muscles used for speech.