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Dysarthria-Overview

This is a motor speech disorder characterized by aphasia (disorder of thecontent of speech). Any of the speech Subsystem (such as phonation, resonance,prosody, respiration, etc.) may be affected.

There are the various types of this disorder: spastic dysarthria (that causes veryslow, indistinct, monotone voice; it might seem strained at times),hyperkinetic dysarthria (which presents with a harsh, strained voice), hypokineticdysarthria (which presents with a hoarse voice of low volume), flacciddysarthria (which causes nasal, breathy voice; there is frequently an obviousweakness or paralysis of the facial muscles), ataxic dysarthria (that causespoor coordination of the speech muscles, resulting in the speech being low involume, erratic and irregular).

Causes

This condition is mainly caused by one’s difficulty or inability to move themuscles of the mouth, face, or the upper respiratory system that plays a partin controlling speech.

This can be the result of various conditions, such as: multiple sclerosis, LouGehrig’s disease, , brain injury or tumor, Wilson’s disease, Huntington’sdisease, Lyme disease, stroke, myasthenia gravis, etc.

Because this condition is usuallycaused by something more severe, the parents should take their child to thedoctor’s as soon as the first symptoms have presented themselves. The doctor willrun the necessary tests, discover the underlying problem, and prescribe thenecessary treatment.

Symptoms

Symptoms may vary in severity from child to child. For some,it can be very mild and has little effect on the understandability of speech. However,others may be difficult to understand and will need therapy to improve theirspeech. Children with dysarthria frequently have difficulties with language,learning, or other aspects of motor development.

The most common symptoms of this condition are: Monotone speech, Slurred speech, difficulty inmoving the tongue, mouth or facial muscles, uneven volume and rhythm of speech,slow rate of speech, excessively loud or soft speech, lack of breath, drooling,problems with chewing and swallowing, etc.

It is important that the childbe taken to the doctor as soon as possible. In that way, the chances ofsuccessfully treating the condition increase greatly.

Treatment

The treatment for this condition firstly involves treatingthe underlying cause, if possible. In this way, the child’s speech may alsoimprove. However, if the speech problems do not go away with the treating ofthe cause, the child may need speech and language therapy. The speech therapyfor children helps improve their articulation, voice, pitch quality and volume.A speech-language pathologist can determine theseverity of the child’s speech difficulties, develop a treatment plan toimprove its speech, and then work with the child to put that plan into action.

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