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Schölderle, Theresa; Staiger, Anja; Lampe, Renée; Strecker, Katrin and Ziegler, Wolfram (2016): Dysarthria in Adults With Cerebral Palsy: Clinical Presentation and Impacts on Communication. In: Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, Vol. 59, No. 2: pp. 216-229

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Purpose: Although dysarthria affects the large majority of individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) and can substantially complicate everyday communication, previous research has provided an incomplete picture of its clinical features. We aimed to comprehensively describe characteristics of dysarthria in adults with CP and to elucidate the impact of dysarthric symptoms on parameters relevant for communication. Method: Forty-two adults with CP underwent speech assessment by means of standardized auditory rating scales. Listening experiments were conducted to obtain communication-related parameters-that is, intelligibility and naturalness-as well as age and gender estimates. Results: The majority of adults with CP showed moderate to severe dysarthria with symptoms on all dimensions of speech, most prominently voice quality, respiration, and prosody. Regression analyses revealed that articulatory, respiratory, and prosodic features were the strongest predictors of intelligibility and naturalness of speech. Listeners' estimates of the speakers' age and gender were predominantly determined by voice parameters. Conclusion: This study provides an overview on the clinical presentation of dysarthria in a convenience sample of adults with CP. The complexity of the functional impairment described and the consequences on the individuals' communication call for a stronger consideration of dysarthria in CP both in clinical care and in research.

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