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If your child has dysarthria, their brain cannot properly control the muscles of their mouth, tongue, vocal cords, and palate (roof of the mouth). This loss of muscle control makes it hard for them to speak.
Dysarthria can be caused by:
Dysarthria: A group of speech disorders caused by disturbances in the strength or coordination of the muscles of the speech mechanism as a result of damage to the brain or nerves.
Your child’s symptoms will depend on the cause. They may have problems such as:
You may notice these problems with their voice:
Dysarthria can also affect the muscles used for talking, breathing, and eating. The muscles may be weaker, moving slower, or perhaps not move at all.
Your child might see a speech-language pathologist (SLP) or a neurologist (a doctor who studies the brain). The doctor will order the tests and do evaluations to diagnose dysarthria.
Your child’s treatment will depend on their symptoms and problems. The goal of working with an SLP is to attempt to improve their speech.
Treatment may include:
If your child has severe dysarthria, they may be hard to understand. They may learn to communicate in other ways, such as:
To learn more on dysarthria from tumor removal, see Posterior Fossa Syndrome on together.stjude.org.
To learn more about dysarthria, speak with your doctor or a Rehabilitation Services provider.
Reviewed: August 2022