Authors: Hustad KC, Auker J, Natale N, Carlson R
Title: Improving intelligibility of speakers with profound dysarthria and cerebral palsy
Source: Augmentative and Alternative Communication 2003 19(3): 187-198
Year: 2003
Research Design: Case Series

Many individuals with cerebral palsy use natural speech as one mode of communication. Recent research suggests that, for these individuals, speech supplementation strategies, such as topic cues, alphabet cues, and combined cues, can have a significant impact on intelligibility; however, the impact of these strategies when speakers actually implement them while producing connected speech is largely unknown. In the present study, the effects of speaker-implemented topic cues, alphabet cues, and combined cues (compared with a no cues control condition) were studied for three individuals with profound dysarthria secondary to cerebral palsy. Also of interest were listener rankings of each strategy, which were based on speakers' perceived effectiveness. Group results showed that combined cues yielded higher intelligibility scores than no cues, topic cues, and alphabet cues. Conversely, no cues resulted in lower intelligibility scores than alphabet cues and topic cues; and alphabet cues resulted in higher intelligibility scores than topic cues. Most importantly, the magnitude of the benefit from combined cues was approximately 40% across speakers, suggesting that this could be a clinically useful intervention strategy for individuals with profound dysarthria in some situations. Group data for listener effectiveness rankings followed the same pattern of results as intelligibility data. Individual differences among speakers were present and are discussed.

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