The Effect of Pacing Strategies on the Variability of Speech Movement Sequences in Dysarthria There are many potential sources of variability in speech production, particularly in individuals with dysarthria. The degree and time course of stabilization of the speech production system during recovery from a neurological insult is not constant across individuals. Another source of variability in speech production is speaking rate. Although individuals ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2003
The Effect of Pacing Strategies on the Variability of Speech Movement Sequences in Dysarthria
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Monica A. McHenry, PhD
    Transitional Learning Center Galveston, TX
  • Contact author: Monica A. McHenry, PhD, Department of Communication Disorders, 100 Clinical Research Center, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-6018. E-mail: mmchenry@uh.edu
  • *Currently affiliated with Portland State University, Oregon.
    Currently affiliated with Portland State University, Oregon.×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Dysarthria / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2003
The Effect of Pacing Strategies on the Variability of Speech Movement Sequences in Dysarthria
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2003, Vol. 46, 702-710. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/055)
History: Received May 28, 2002 , Accepted November 26, 2002
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2003, Vol. 46, 702-710. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/055)
History: Received May 28, 2002; Accepted November 26, 2002
Web of Science® Times Cited: 26

There are many potential sources of variability in speech production, particularly in individuals with dysarthria. The degree and time course of stabilization of the speech production system during recovery from a neurological insult is not constant across individuals. Another source of variability in speech production is speaking rate. Although individuals with no neurological impairments typically show increased variability at reduced speaking rates, this phenomenon has not been explored extensively in individuals with dysarthria. Because rate control strategies are commonly used in dysarthria treatment, it is of clinical importance to know if individuals with dysarthria produce less variable speech with rate reduction. Six individuals with mild dysarthria, 6 with moderate-to-severe dysarthria, and 6 matched normal controls repeated an utterance in four speaking rate conditions: habitual, fast, breaks between words, and stretched. Data were analyzed using the spatiotemporal index (STI), a composite measure of spatial and temporal variability across token repetitions. The normal controls consistently demonstrated the least variability, regardless of rate condition. Both groups with dysarthria were the least variable in the stretched condition and the most variable in the fast condition. The STI values of the group with moderate-to-severe dysarthria were significantly different from both the individuals with mild dysarthria and the normal controls. There were no significant differences between the group with mild dysarthria and the normal controls. In general, slowing the speaking rate in individuals with dysarthria reduces spatiotemporal variability; however, the effect of reduced spatiotemporal variability on intelligibility requires further investigation.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by Grant 98-7 from the Moody Endowment of Galveston, TX. Part of this article was presented at the 1999 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in San Francisco.
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