University of Malta

Pam Enderby Keynote Speech
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The Challenges and Opportunities When Treating Acquired Dysarthria

Emeritus Professor Pam Enderby

The management of dysarthria in the last two decades has changed radically with the improved knowledge of neurophysiology, phonetics and the implications of linguistics associated with, and underlying this motor speech disorder.  Detailed assessment of the speech disorder as well as the  impact it has on the individual is essential for the speech and language therapist to plan a course of intervention aiming to improve the quality and intelligibility of speech, improve communicative effectiveness, support the social participation of the client and improve their quality of life. Difficult decisions have to be made as, for example, the quality of the speech may have to be sacrificed for improved intelligibility and sometimes vice versa.

Technology including speech analysis, voice to speech and text to speech software offer tremendous opportunities, but some challenges for speech and language therapists working with those with dysarthria.

The most recent Cochrane review was only able to include five studies as being of sufficient quality with a small number of subjects (234). This begs the question as to why there is so little research in this area particularly given the amount of data indicating the impact of this speech disorder on the quality of life of individuals. Collecting basic information on every client we see may help us to have a better understanding of the impacts of different interventions and I will discuss methods of doing this in a normal clinical situation.

Last Updated: 21 November 2017

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