We treat all problems affecting; speech, language, communication, eating & drinking.

Childhood dysarthria

Childhood dysarthria is a motor speech disorder which occurs after damage to the speech centres of the brain, cranial nerves or nervous system. The severity will depend upon the type of injury and the individual affected.

What is childhood dysarthria

Childhood dysarthria is a speech difficulty categorised as a motor speech disorder. Dysarthria can effect children who have suffered damage to the speech centres of the brain, nervous system or cranial nerves. The severity of the dysarthria will depend upon which part of the brain has been damaged and to what extent. Each individual child will have different needs and will be assessed and treated according to these.

What different types of childhood dysarthria are there?

There are different types of dysarthria and a child will have different needs according to which type they have. The following are different types of dysarthria:

Ataxic dysarthria

Ataxic dysarthria is associated with a difficulty in coordination of movement. This will affect the range, force and rate of speech production.

Hyperkinetic dysarthria involves loss of inhibitory control, that leads to involuntary and abnormal movements that inhibit the speech. This involuntary movements is in form of tics, athetosis, dystonia and tremors. Hyperkinetic dysarthria limits the amount, range and force of movement of the patient.

Flaccid dysarthria

Flaccid dysarthria is when a child has muscle weakness and a lack of tone. Speech will usually be weak and breathy and not contain many intonation patterns.

Spastic dysarthria

Spastic dysarthria is the opposite of flaccid in that the muscles have excess tension and reflexes will by hypersensitive. Body movements may frequently interrupt the flow of speech.

Hyperkinetic dysarthria

Hyperkinetic dysarthria is associated with involuntary body movements such as tics and tremours and means a child has little or no control over the muscles.

Mixed dysarthria

A mixed dysarthria could include symptoms of various different types of dysarthria and will involve different treatment.

Speech and language therapy for childhood dysarthria

Speech and language therapy for dysarthria will depend upon which type a child has and will involve specific treatment and assessment of speech and language abilities. The aim of speech and language therapy is to introduce the child to new approaches to their communication and to improve existing speech as well as investigating other means of communication if necessary. Therapy may involve strategies and exercises the child can do both at school and at home to improve the overall quality of their speech. Exercises will be introduced for the voice quality and certain articulators and volume levels.

Techniques for school, home and different members of the family will be investigated and discussed in order to get the best possible result for a child's communication needs. This may include slowing down strategies and active listening strategies. Please contact Manchester SLT for more information on these strategies and how they will benefit your child.

Benefits of speech and language therapy for childhood dysarthria

Speech and language therapy for dysarthria is highly beneficial for children. Some of these benefits may include:

  • Increased intelligibility of speech
  • Increased confidence
  • Raised self esteem
  • Alternative communication method used
  • Raised levels of motivation
  • Increased communication with friends and family

How do I arrange an appointment with a speech and language therapist?

To arrange an appointment with one of our speech and language therapists at Manchester SLT, or if you would like more information about childhood dysarthria, please contact us by emailing: info@manchesterslt.co.uk.

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