Range and Precision of Formant Movement in Pediatric Dysarthria

Purpose

This study aimed to improve understanding of speech characteristics associated with dysarthria in children with cerebral palsy by analyzing segmental and global formant measures in single-word and sentence contexts.

Method

Ten 5-year-old children with cerebral palsy and dysarthria and 10 age-matched, typically developing children participated in this study. Vowel space area and second formant interquartile range were measured from children’s elicited productions of single words and sentences.

Results

Results showed that the children with dysarthria had significantly smaller vowel space areas than typically developing children in both word and sentence contexts; however, overall ranges of second formant movement did not differ between groups in word or sentence contexts. Additional analysis of single words revealed that, compared to typical children, children with dysarthria had smaller second formant interquartile ranges in single words with phonetic contexts requiring large changes in vocal tract configuration, but not in single words with monophthongs.

Conclusions

Results of this study suggest that children with dysarthria may not have globally reduced ranges of articulatory movement compared to typically developing peers; however, they do exhibit reduced precision in producing phonetic targets.

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