Acoustic and perceptual consequences of speech cues for children with dysarthria

Levy, Erika S.; Chang, Younghwa Michelle; Ancelle, Joséphine A.; McAuliffe, Megan J.

Purpose: Reductions in articulatory working space and vocal intensity have been linked to intelligibility deficits in children with dysarthria due to cerebral palsy. However, few studies have examined the outcomes of behavioral treatments aimed at these underlying impairments or investigated which treatment cues might best facilitate improved intelligibility. This study assessed the effects of cues targeting clear speech (i.e., “Speak with your big mouth”) and greater vocal intensity (i.e., “Speak with your strong voice”) on acoustic measures of speech production and intelligibility.

Method: Eight children with spastic dysarthria due to cerebral palsy repeated sentence- and word-level stimuli across habitual, big mouth, and strong voice conditions. Acoustic analyses were conducted, and 48 listeners completed orthographic transcription and scaled intelligibility ratings.

Results: Both cues resulted in significant changes to vocal intensity and speech rate although the degree of change varied by condition. In a similar manner, perceptual analysis revealed significant improvements to intelligibility with both cues; however, at the single-word level, big mouth outperformed strong voice.

Conclusion: Children with dysarthria are capable of changing their speech styles differentially in response to cueing. Both the big mouth and strong voice cues hold promise as intervention strategies to improve intelligibility in this population.

Supplemental Material:


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Also Published In

Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

More About This Work

Academic Units
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Published Here
June 29, 2020