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What Is Dysarthria?

Dysarthria is a speech problem caused by muscle weakness in the face, lips, tongue, throat, and breathing muscles. It is caused by brain damage. This may be present at birth (congenital) because of disorders such as cerebral palsy. Or it may be the result of a stroke or other types of brain injury. A person who has dysarthria knows which words to use, but may not be able to make the right sounds. This disorder may also cause trouble swallowing or chewing.

Signs of dysarthria

The signs of dysarthria vary with each person. A person with dysarthria may show some or all of the signs listed below.

A person with dysarthria may not be able to do the following:

  • Make certain sounds

  • Speak whole sentences clearly

  • Control his or her tone of voice, volume, or breaks between words

  • Realize his or her speech is hard to understand

  • Control his or her saliva

A person with dysarthria may do the following:

  • Speak certain sounds louder than others

  • Sound harsh, jerky, breathy, irregular, or raspy during speech

  • Pause for breath in the wrong places

  • Drop or slur parts of words

  • Speak slowly or in a way that sounds hesitant or halting

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