Dysarthria in Adults With Cerebral Palsy: Clinical Presentation and Impacts on Communication Purpose Although dysarthria affects the large majority of individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) and can substantially complicate everyday communication, previous research has provided an incomplete picture of its clinical features. We aimed to comprehensively describe characteristics of dysarthria in adults with CP and to elucidate the impact of dysarthric symptoms ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2016
Dysarthria in Adults With Cerebral Palsy: Clinical Presentation and Impacts on Communication
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Theresa Schölderle
    Clinical Neuropsychology Research Group, Institute for Phonetics and Speech Processing, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
  • Anja Staiger
    Clinical Neuropsychology Research Group, Institute for Phonetics and Speech Processing, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
  • Renée Lampe
    Hospital rechts der Isar, Technical University München, Germany
  • Katrin Strecker
    Center for Cerebral Palsy, Munich, Germany
  • Wolfram Ziegler
    Clinical Neuropsychology Research Group, Institute for Phonetics and Speech Processing, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Theresa Schölderle: theresa.schoelderle@ekn-muenchen.de
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Amy Neel
    Associate Editor: Amy Neel×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Dysarthria / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2016
Dysarthria in Adults With Cerebral Palsy: Clinical Presentation and Impacts on Communication
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2016, Vol. 59, 216-229. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-15-0086
History: Received February 26, 2015 , Revised July 17, 2015 , Accepted August 26, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2016, Vol. 59, 216-229. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-15-0086
History: Received February 26, 2015; Revised July 17, 2015; Accepted August 26, 2015

Purpose Although dysarthria affects the large majority of individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) and can substantially complicate everyday communication, previous research has provided an incomplete picture of its clinical features. We aimed to comprehensively describe characteristics of dysarthria in adults with CP and to elucidate the impact of dysarthric symptoms on parameters relevant for communication.

Method Forty-two adults with CP underwent speech assessment by means of standardized auditory rating scales. Listening experiments were conducted to obtain communication-related parameters—that is, intelligibility and naturalness—as well as age and gender estimates.

Results The majority of adults with CP showed moderate to severe dysarthria with symptoms on all dimensions of speech, most prominently voice quality, respiration, and prosody. Regression analyses revealed that articulatory, respiratory, and prosodic features were the strongest predictors of intelligibility and naturalness of speech. Listeners' estimates of the speakers' age and gender were predominantly determined by voice parameters.

Conclusion This study provides an overview on the clinical presentation of dysarthria in a convenience sample of adults with CP. The complexity of the functional impairment described and the consequences on the individuals' communication call for a stronger consideration of dysarthria in CP both in clinical care and in research.

Acknowledgments
Theresa Schölderle was funded by a PhD fellowship from the German National Academic Foundation. Anja Staiger received funding from the German Research Foundation. We would like to thank the speech-language therapists at the Center for Cerebral Palsy Munich for their help in recruiting the participants. The listening experiments and reliability evaluations were conducted with support from Stefanie Schmid and Anna-Maria Meck. We are also grateful to all the participants of the study and thank the ReHa-Hilfe e.V. for their support.
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