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Section 3 - Dysarthria

Dysarthria is caused by weakness or in co-ordination of the speech muscles.

It affects intelligibility.

For clear speech the

  • Lips
  • Tongue
  • Soft palate
  • Vocal cords

Have to make very precise movements.

Speech is powered by our breath.

Changes in breath support for speech can also affect intelligibility.

Common causes of dysarthria include; Stroke, Parkinson's and Motor Neuron Disease

Different types of dysarthria have different symptoms.

Speech may sound:

  • Too fast/ slow
  • Too quiet
  • Monotone or expressionless
  • Slurred
  • Nasal
  • Jerky

Dysarthria does not affect intelligence.

Dysarthria can make it difficult for listeners to understand.

Dysarthria can make you feel:  embarrassed, fed up, frustrated, angry or upset.

Managing dysarthria can be tiring and effortful.



These strategies may help reduce the impact of dysarthria and support the listener to understand your message:

  • Reduce background noise …. Turn off the TV, move to a quiet room
  • Go slow! Give your muscles time to make the speech movements
  • Make sure you have good breath support
  • Use short sentences
  • Stress key words
  • Over articulate/ exaggerate speech muscle movements
  • Try writing
  • Support what you are saying with body language/ gesture
  • Ask your listener to feedback if they don't understand
  • Use a communication aid


The Speech and Language service will work with you to:

  • Assess your speech skills
  • Provide you with
    • Strategies to manage the dysarthria
    • Activities to reduce impairment
    • Support and advice
Find out more about the Speech and Language service here

'In recent times, I have utilised admissions to Richardson for respite direct from my fracture clinic, even at weekends. I have never worked anywhere with this efficiency before - it is reassuring and invaluable for the patient.'

Patient, Lowson / Starling Wards, Richardson Hospital