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Magdalena Wilk, Maria Pachalska, Malgorzata Lipowska, Ryszard Makarowski, Andrzej Mirski, Grazyna Jastrzebowska
Med Sci Monit 2010; 16(5): CR222-231
Dysarthia is a common sequela of cerebral palsy (CP), directly affecting both the intelligibility of speech and the child's psycho-social adjustment. Speech therapy focused exclusively on the articulatory organs does not always help CP children to speak more intelligibly. The program of art therapy described here has proven to be helpful for these children.
Material and Method: From among all the CP children enrolled in our art therapy program from 2005 to 2009, we selected a group of 14 boys and girls (average age 15.3) with severe dysarthria at baseline but no other language or cognitive disturbances. Our retrospective study was based on results from the Auditory Dysarthria Scale and neuropsychological tests for fluency, administered routinely over the 4 months of art therapy.
Results: All 14 children in the study group showed some degree of improvement after art therapy in all tested parameters. On the Auditory Dysarthia Scale, highly significant improvements were noted in overall intelligibility (p<0.0001), with significant improvement (p<0.001) in volume, tempo, and control of pauses. The least improvement was noted in the most purely motor parameters. All 14 children also exhibited significant improvement in fluency.
Conclusions: Art therapy improves the intelligibility of speech in children with cerebral palsy, even when language functions are not as such the object of therapeutic intervention.