Speech and Pause Characteristics Associated with Voluntary Rate Reduction in Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis
The primary purpose of this study was to investigate how speakers with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) accomplish voluntary reductions in speech rate. A group of talkers with no history of neurological disease was included for comparison. This study was motivated by the idea that knowledge of how speakers with dysarthria voluntarily accomplish a reduced speech rate would contribute toward a descriptive model of speaking rate change in dysarthria. Such a model has the potential to assist in identifying rate control strategies to receive focus in clinical treatment programs and also would advance understanding of global speech timing in dysarthria. All speakers read a passage in Habitual and Slow conditions. Speech rate, articulation rate, pause duration, and pause frequency were measured. All speaker groups adjusted articulation time as well as pause time to reduce overall speech rate. Group differences in how voluntary rate reduction was accomplished were primarily one of quantity or degree. Overall, a slower-than-normal rate was associated with a reduced articulation rate, shorter speech runs that included fewer syllables, and longer more frequent pauses. Taken together, these results suggest that existing skills or strategies used by patients should be emphasized in dysarthria training programs focusing on rate reduction. Results further suggest that a model of voluntary speech rate reduction based on neurologically normal speech shows promise as being applicable for mild to moderate dysarthria.
from the Journal of Communication Disorders