Authors: Hustad KC, Sassano K
Title: Effects of rate reduction on severe spastic dysarthria in cerebral palsy
Source: Journal of Medical Speech Language Pathology 2002 10(4): 287-292
Year: 2002
Research Design: Single Case Design

The present study examined the effects of speaker-implemented interword pauses as a strategy for reducing rate in two individuals with severe spastic dysarthria secondary to cerebral palsy. Measures of intelligibility, speech rate, articulation rate, and pause frequency and duration were examined for three different rate conditions: habitual speech, speaker-implemented deliberate interword pauses, and digitally lengthened interword pauses. Results showed an increase in intelligibility of 32% for one speaker and 10% for the other speaker for the speaker-implemented deliberate pause condition, relative to habitual speech. Temporal-acoustic analysis showed that both speakers reduced their articulation rate by approximately 15 words per minute when implementing the deliberate interword pause strategy and that speakers spent approximately half of the time pausing and half of the time articulating. Experimentally lengthened pauses did not result in further increases in intelligibility for either speaker, suggesting that increased pause time alone is not sufficient to increase intelligibility. Results suggest that rate reduction via speaker-implemented interword pauses may be a viable intervention strategy for some speakers with severe dysarthria.

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