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Talking to someone with dysarthria

Patient information A-Z

What is dysarthria?

Dysarthria is the term used to describe speech difficulties that are caused by damage or weakness of the muscles needed for speech. Dysarthria can occur by itself or with other communication difficulties.

Why do I need this sheet?

This sheet is for anyone who needs to talk to people with dysarthria. These strategies can be used to improve communication when talking to someone with dysarthria.

How can I help?

  • Reduce background noise
  • Sit face to face – you may be able to lip read
  • Prompt them to take a deep breath before speaking
  • Allow them plenty of time to speak
  • Encourage them to write key words
  • You may have to ask them to repeat themselves or speak slowly
  • Encourage them to use shorter sentences and key words
  • Recap to ensure you have understood each other
  • Give feedback about their speech, for example tell them if their speech was quiet
  • Remember that speaking can be more difficult when tired

If you have any questions please contact speech and language therapy on 01223 216 200.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151