Dysarthria is a condition in which the muscles used for speech are weak or one has difficulty controlling them. Dysarthria often is characterized by slurred or slow speech that can be difficult to understand. Approximately 7.5 million people in the United States have trouble using their voices. The first signs of this disorder are found most often in individuals between 30 and 50 years of age. More women appear to be affected by spasmodic dysphonia than men. A cleft palate is the fourth most common birth defect, affecting approximately 1 of every 700 live births.
One may have speech and language therapy to help regain normal speech and improve communication. One’s speech therapy goals might include adjusting speech rate, strengthening muscles, increasing breath support, improving articulation and helping family members communicate. If speech and language therapy is not effective, these communication methods could include: visual cues, gestures, an alphabet board or computer-based technology.
As part of new research Computer-based Speech Practice is there. Specifically, the use of this technology as a speech practice tool will be investigated. The technology is based upon models of impaired speech and will recognize speech characteristics of the individual user. Participants will be involved in the initial therapeutic trials of this technology.