What is Dysarthria?

Dysarthria is a speech problem caused by a weakness or a lack of control over muscles in the face, mouth, and respiratory system. Dysarthria may be congenital (present at birth) because of a disorder such as cerebral palsy or the result of a stroke or brain injury. A person who has dysarthria knows which words to use, but may not be able to make the right sounds.

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 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