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Dysarthria and Cerebral Palsy

Many people who have cerebral palsy also have the symptom of dysarthria, a type of speech related disorder.  Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that usually result from some sort of damage or injury to the brain before, during, or shortly after birth.  Cerebral palsy usually manifests itself in motor and gait dysfunction, but other side effects like dysarthria may occur as well.

Dysarthria is a neurologically related speech disorder that is the result of injury to the brain’s motor function area (frontal lobe) or other cranially related damage.  Dysarthria usually affects the motor function primarily.  Symptoms of dysarthria in people with cerebral palsy include slurring of speech, swallowing problems, or damage to the muscles relating to speaking.  The extent of dysarthria’s damage to speech production varies from person to person.

Other symptoms that may be related to dysarthria include soft or barely audible speech, slow talking, rapid and mumbling speech, abnormal rhythm or tonality of speech, hoarseness, and drooling.  There are many instances of dysarthria affecting eating and nutrition in persons with the disorders, especially when coupled with cerebral palsy.

Dysarthria symptoms can be as slight as to be almost unnoticeable, but can also manifest itself in a very serious inability to control mouth muscles or eating mechanisms in people with cerebral palsy.  The most common factor in dysarthria and persons with cerebral palsy is a slow speech.
Usually, like other symptoms of cerebral palsy, the effects of dysarthria are not progressive.  The result is that the person with cerebral palsy and dysarthria is better able to pinpoint the exact damages relating to their disorders in order to treat them more effectively.

Often a speech therapist is used to help regain control over the muscles in the mouth and tongue.  A speech therapist can help a person who has dysarthria and cerebral palsy in learning how to train muscles in the face and mouth.  By allowing for a certain amount of control the therapy can help the person with cerebral palsy become more independent.

Some therapies used for dysarthria also focus on breathing techniques.  Speech techniques often concentrate on pauses before and after words are spoken.  Often the therapy combines orofacial expressive exercises, which help in gaining strength in the muscles.  If speech is not possible then there are several electronic devices that can help the person in effectively communicating with others.

Many times the cerebral palsy and its resulting dysarthria is the result of some medical mistake due to a number of factors.  If you suspect this to be the case, you should contact an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer through this Web site for a free consultation.

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