Dysarthria is a condition in which a person has difficulty controlling or coordinating the muscles used when speaking or weakness of those muscles. Any of the speech subsystems (respiration, phonation, resonance, prosody, and articulation) can be affected, leading to impairments in intelligibility, audibility, naturalness, and efficiency of vocal communication. Some causes of dysarthria include brain tumor, dementia, stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), face or neck trauma, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, and parkinson’s disease. Both children and adults can have dysarthria.

A person with dysarthria may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • “Slurred” speech
  • Speaking softly or barely able to whisper
  • Slow rate of speech
  • Rapid rate of speech with a “mumbling” quality (difficult to¬†understand)
  • Difficulty moving tongue or facial muscles
  • Abnormal intonation (rhythm) when speaking
  • Changes in vocal quality (nasal, raspy, or strained voice quality)
  • Hoarseness
  • Chewing and swallowing difficulty
  • Uneven volume of speech
  • Monotone speech
  • Drooling
  • Breathiness