Can People with Chronic Dysarthria Change Their Speech towards a Target Pronunciation?

R Palmer, P Enderby, S Cunningham

 

This study investigated whether it is possible for people with chronic dysarthria to change their articulation in three practice conditions: repetition, visual feedback and copying an auditory target. Speech recognition technology was used to compare subjects' practice attempts with a model of a word made from previous recordings to give a recognition score. This score was used to indicate changes in production of practice words with different conditions. For eight subjects with dysarthria, the ability to alter speech production was shown, together with a differential effect for the three conditions. Copying an auditory target gave significantly better recognition scores than just repeating the word. Visual feedback, however, was only significantly more effective than repetition for four of the subjects. For two control subjects, visual feedback or an auditory target both produced significantly better recognition scores than just repetition of words, but there was no difference between the two conditions. Possible reasons for differences between conditions are discussed.