In celebration of my launch of Functional Treatment for Motor Speech, this blog series looks closer at individual treatments for dysarthria and apraxia.
As someone who embraces the Life Participation Approach in speech therapy, it’s my aim to provide any sort of speech therapy in a way that improves functional outcomes. We are used to seeing this with language, and maybe cognition, but Motor Speech treatment needn’t be excluded! While it is an impairment-level problem, I believe that we can focus on function by 1. Using words and phrases that MATTER (personally-relevant) and 2. Include SPEAKING (not just speech) and real-life practice within our therapy sessions and home programs.
The 1st treatment I wanted to share is: Be Clear Treatment for Dysarthria.
What is “Be Clear”?
“Be Clear” is an intensive dysarthria treatment program for adults with nonprogressive dysarthria. The program was set up to complete 1 hour sessions 4x/week for 4 weeks. This program was developed to take into account the new knowledge of both neuroplasticity AND principles of motor learning, using the strategy of “Clear Speech.”
What are we talking about exactly with “Clear Speech?
Research has shown that giving the simple, easy-to-understand cue of using “clear speech” helps people adjust their speech in several ways without having to be conscious of it. For example, they slow down, add longer pauses between words, slightly increase their loudness, and improve articulation. Think about how you automatically use “clear speech” in situations where someone doesn’t understand you, or maybe you’re talking with someone who is hard of hearing. The “Be Clear” study was looking at how to use the simple instructions of “clear speech” to help people with dysarthria improve their intelligibility in functional situations — focusing more on sound than a specific movement.
Who should I use “Be Clear” with?
- Patients with dysarthria that is nonprogressive (ex: dysarthria due to stroke or ABI)
- The Study included patients 6-months+ brain injury, English speakers, adequate cognition to participate in therapy, and stimulable to use “Clear Speech.” Patients were excluded if they had aphasia, significant hearing or vision loss, dementia, apraxia, or amnesia.
- Study included multiple types of dysarthria (Flaccid-ataxia, ataxic, spastic-ataxic, hypokinetic, spastic).
What sort of goals would “Be Clear” address?
- -Improved speech intelligibility
- Improved self-perception of speech (via scores on the Dysarthria Impact Profile)
- Improved communication partner rating (See Communication Partner Rating Sheet)
- Improved ability to use a decreased speech rate
How does “Be Clear” relate to a person-centered approach?
This program was developed specifically to align with the new knowledge we have that promotes using meaningful, salient stimuli to maximize patient motivation and outcomes. It’s all about using material relevant to the person you are working with.
How Can I Start Using Be Clear with my clients with dysarthria?
I’ve got you covered! As a clinical SLP, it’s my pleasure to bring ready-to-use resources for other SLPs that work in the clinical setting (without outside planning time). I’ve compiled MANY different treatments for dysarthria and apraxia, along with the scoring, in-session, home program, goal-writing, and functional ideas you need in Functional Treatment for Motor Speech Disorders. Hop on over to check it out – I hope you love it.
Park, S., Theodoros, D., Finch, E., & Cardell, E. (2016). Be clear: A new intensive speech treatment for adults with nonprogressive dysarthria. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 1, 97-110.