Authors: Hartelius L, Theodoros D, Murdoch B
Title: Use of electropalatography in the treatment of disordered articulation following traumatic brain injury: A case study
Source: Journal of Medical Speech Language Pathology 2005 13(3): 189-204
Year: 2005
Research Design: Single Case Design

Electropalatography (EPG) was used as a biofeedback tool in a case study of a 30-year-old male with disordered articulation following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Based on qualitative measures of the participant's intelligibility, improved articulation of the fricatives /s/ and /∫/ were selected as treatment targets. Therapy was administered three times a week for 5 weeks. Results showed that word and sentence intelligibility increased approximately 10%, and error patterns for lingual articulation indicated that fricative -> stop and other fricative errors decreased considerably. EPG measures for /s/ exhibited a significantly more anterior main focus of articulatory contact post therapy. Consonant durations were significantly longer during weeks 3 and 4, and this finding was associated with the emergence of an articulatory contact pattern with a groove rather than complete closure. This articulatory pattern appeared inconsistently and was found to vary across articulations of /s/ but also within a single consonant production. For /∫/, the amount of contact was significantly reduced post therapy and an increase in duration was noted during week 4, similar to that occurring in the production of /s/. Spatial and timing measures were more variable than in normal speakers of English and indicated a general increase in variability across weeks for both /s/ and /∫/. It was concluded that, although the correct fricative patterns appeared only intermittently during production of the consonants, there seemed to be sufficient information for the listener to be able to classify the sound as a fricative. As a part of an intervention program, visual EPG biofeedback therapy would appear to have a definite role in assisting dysarthric speakers exhibiting difficulties with lingual articulation in understanding their errors, learning how to exploit kinesthetic, and acoustic sources of feedback, and how to make appropriate adjustments in tongue articulation to increase the level of speech intelligibility.

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