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Facial Kinematics of Speaker with Palatal Lift Following Brainstem Impairment
Susan Fager, Jordan Green, David R. Beukelman

This study examined the impact of palatal lift prosthesis on articulatory kinematics for a teenage speaker with velopharyngeal incompetence (VPI) due to brainstem glioma. Although palatal lift prostheses are known to improve oral resonance and pressure, their influence on articulatory performance has not been studied. Palatal lift intervention may have several effects on the articulatory performance of individuals with VPI. For example, compensatory articulatory adjustments, which were used to maximize oral resonance or minimize nasal airflow, may disappear. Changes may also occur in response to the sudden increase in oral airflows and pressures. Specific research questions included: (1) Does a palatal lift significantly change articulatory performance?, and (2) If so, does articulatory performance become more similar to that of normal speakers? Results showed substantial differences on articulatory working space, peak speed of movement and movement pattern stability with and without palatal lift. Compensatory articulatory adjustments were evident in response to palatal lift intervention on all measures. With the lift, articulatory performance tended to move closer towards non-disabled performance patterns. Despite this tendency, the subject with VPI still remained substantially different from the non-disabled subjects.

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