Acquired motor speech disorders Overview
- This is a general label that covers several distinct disruptions to voice and speech arising from illness or injury to the central or peripheral nervous system
- Prognosis of the underlying neurological disorder may be towards improvement/plateau or inevitably deteriorating, but in all cases speech and language therapy has a role to play
- Persons with acquired motor speech disorders remain at risk as defined by the Mental Capacity Act (2005) / Incapacity Act and SLTs are integral to assessing competence for consenting, etc
What are acquired motor speech disorders?
Acquired motor speech disorders are changes to voice and speech associated with damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems. This includes disorders associated with the nerve-muscle junction, e.g. myasthenia gravis and with muscle function, e.g. muscular dystrophies.
Severity may range from ‘changes imperceptible to listeners but felt by speakers’ through to ‘absence of any speech or voice’.
Lesions may be localised, e.g. stroke or systemic, motor neurone disease, sudden onset or slowly or rapidly progressive, all with implications for management.
Lesions bringing about motor speech disorders may involve:
- Cerebral cortex
- And/or subcortical structures and pathways
- And/or peripheral nerves.
Prognosis of the underlying neurological disorder may be towards improvement/plateau or inevitably deteriorating, but in all cases speech and language therapy (SLT) has a role to play.
- Brain injury
- Head and neck cancer
- Motor disorders
- Progressive neurological disorders