Intonation patterns in older children with cerebral palsy before and after speech intervention

Anja Kuschmann, Nick Miller, Anja Lowit, Lindsay Pennington

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Purpose: This paper examined the production of intonation patterns in children with developmental dysarthria associated with cerebral palsy (CP) prior to and after speech intervention focussing on respiration and phonation. The study further sought to establish whether intonation performance might be related to changes in speech intelligibility. Method: Intonation patterns were examined using connected speech samples of 15 older children with moderate to severe developmental dysarthria due to CP (9 females; age range: 11-18). Recordings were made prior to and after speech intervention based on a systems approach. Analyses focused on use of intonation patterns, pitch accentuation and phrasing.
Result: Group analyses showed a significant increase in the use of rising intonation patterns after intervention. There were also some indications that this increase might have been related to gains in speech intelligibility for some of the children. No changes were observed regarding pitch accentuation and phrasing following intervention. Conclusion: The findings highlight that changes can occur in the use of intonation patterns in children with dysarthria and CP following speech systems intervention. It is hypothesised that the emergence of the rising pattern in some of the children’s intonational inventories possibly reflected improved breath support and control of laryngeal muscles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-380
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number4
Early online date5 Oct 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Oct 2016


  • intonation
  • cerebral palsy
  • developmental dysarthria
  • speech therapy
  • speech intervention

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