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.

Today’s Topic: Rhythmic Speech Cueing (a form of metrical pacing).

What is Rhythmic Speech Cueing (RSC)?

Rhythmic Speech Cueing: This technique uses an auditory cue (like a metronome) at a reduced speed (slower than the person’s habitual rate), to help a person slow down and better complete motor programming while speaking. This technique has been used to improve intelligibility. 

Who should I use Rhythmic Speech Cueing with?

The main population this has been studied with is dysarthria, due to neurodegenerative or neurological change. Hypokinetic dysarthria (including Parksinsons), Ataxic, Spastic, or mixed. One study also showed a positive effect using this technique for apraxia of speech. Severe impairments show benefit with rhythmic speech cueing.

What sort of goals would RSC address?

How does RSC relate to a person-centered approach?

RSC is focused on progressing to functional communication in each session.  I’ve included ideas to use personally-relevant words with RSC in a way that is communication-focused, which tends to be a primary activity goal for patients. RSC allows flexibility to target sounds based on a person’s needs or desires. 

How Can I Use Rhythmic Speech Cueing in Speech Therapy?

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. Hop on over to check it out – I hope you love it.

Key References

Mainka, S., & Mallien, G. (2014). “Rhythmic Speech Cueing”, 150-160. Retrieved online:   

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