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Suffolk Center for Speech

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What is Dysarthria?

  • Dysarthria is a speech disorder that occurs due to damage that has occurred to parts of the brain which in turn affects muscle control. 

What are the differences between the different types of Dysarthria?

  • There are 7 types of dysarthria: Flaccid, Spastic, Ataxic, Hypokinetic, Hyperkinetic, Unilateral Upper Motor Neuron, and Mixed. They each are characterized by respective causes and features which in turn result in different degrees of impairment in muscle control while speaking.
    • Flaccid—associated with disorders of the lower motor neuron system and/or muscle; presents with weakness
    • Spastic—associated with bilateral disorders of the upper motor neuron system; present with spasticity
    • Ataxic—associated with disorders of the cerebellar control circuit; presents with uncoordinated movements
    • Hypokinetic—associated with disorders of the basal ganglia control circuit; presents with slow movements
    • Hyperkinetic—associated with disorders of the basal ganglia control circuit’ presents with involuntary movements
    • Unilateral upper motor neuron—associated with unilateral disorders of the upper motor neuron system; associated with Apraxia of speech
    • Mixed—various combinations of dysarthria types (e.g., spastic-ataxic; flaccid-spastic)’ is commonly seen in MS, ALS, and Wilson’s disease
    • Undetermined—perceptual features are consistent with dysarthria but do not clearly fit into any of the identified dysarthria types

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-Amanda D

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