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Schoelderle, Theresa; Staiger, Anja; Schumacher, Barbara; Ziegler, Wolfram (2019): The Impact of Dysarthria on Laypersons' Attitudes towards Adults with Cerebral Palsy. In: Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, Vol. 71, No. 5-6: pp. 309-320
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Objective: This study investigated laypersons' attitudes towards adults with dysarthria due to cerebral palsy (CP). We aimed to explore the impact of the overall severity and of specific symptoms of dysarthria on laypersons' evaluations. Patients and Methods: Eighteen adults with dysarthria due to CP and 6 nondysarthric controls participated as speakers. The individuals with CP underwent dysarthria assessment based on a standardized tool. The results were compared to those of a listening experiment with 20 laypersons. A text passage spoken by all speakers was presented to the listeners, who provided their evaluations using rating scales specifically developed for this study. The tool addressed 3 dimensions of attitudes: (1) estimation of a speaker's cognitive-linguistic abilities;(2) attribution of personality and social characteristics, and (3) listeners' emotions and behavioral tendencies towards the speaker. Results: Severity of dysarthria was strongly correlated with the overall attitudes. Regression analyses identified different symptoms as predictors of the listeners' judgements. Conclusion: Severity of dysarthria seems to have a major impact on laypersons' attitudes. Results suggest that speech symptoms may have a very specific influence on laypersons' evaluations. This may be important for clinical care, since symptoms with the most negative impact should be focused on in treatment.