What is Dysarthria?
Dysarthria is a term that describes difficulty talking due to muscle weakness of the face, tongue, lips, throat, and diaphragm. It is typically seen in individuals who have had a stroke, but it can also be evident in someone who has suffered a brain injury or other neurological disease. It has no relation to mental ability.
Someone with dysarthria may sound mumbled, slurred, hoarse, nasal, or breathy. They may speak very quietly, making it difficult to hear them. They might speak too fast due to lack of control of the precision of their speech muscles, or they may speak very slowly. Some may be unable to speak at all, requiring the use of an electronic device to talk for them.
Often, someone with dysarthria feels too embarrassed to go out in public or talk on the phone, which can lead to social isolation.
The most important thing you can do when conversing with a person who has dysarthria is to be patient with them and encourage them. Help the person by giving them your full attention and nodding to show you understand them. Using gestures, facial expressions, and pictures or written words can also help. They will appreciate the time you take to really listen and understand them.
Dysarthria. Digital image. Mount Nittany Health. N.p., 2000. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. <http://www.mountnittany.org/articles/healthsheets/3067>.