Impact of breath group control on the speech of normals and individuals with cerebral palsy
Type of content
Dysarthria is one of the most common signs of speech impairment in the cerebral palsy (CP) population. Facilitating strategies for speech enhancement in this population often include training on speech breathing. Treatment efficacy studies with cross-system measures in this population are needed for improved understanding and management of the interrelationship between respiratory, phonatory, and articulatory systems. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of breath group control on the coordination of articulatory and phonatory muscles and the acoustic measures related to speech and voice quality. A simultaneous acoustic, electroglottographic (EGG), and marker-based facial tracking recording system was employed to monitor the speech production behaviors of four adults with CP and 16 neurologically healthy controls. Subjects were instructed to perform three tasks, each containing speech targets with a voiceless plosive (/p/, /t/, or /k/) preceding a vowel (/i/, /a/, /u/, or /ɔ/). Task 1 consisted of a short reading passage embedded with target vowels without cueing from breath group markers. Task 2 included reading a series of monosyllabic and 3-syllable or 5-syllable non-speech words with the speech targets. Task 3 included reading the same short passage from Task 1 with cueing from breath group markers separating the passage into phrases with no more than five syllables per phrase. Measures from the acoustic, EGG and facial tracking recordings of the first and last syllable of all syllable trains produced in the non-speech task and the target vowels in the passage reading task were examined. Acoustic measures included voice onset time (VOT), vowel duration, fundamental frequency (F0), percent jitter (%jitter), percent shimmer (%shimmer), signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and frequencies of Formants one and two (F1 and F2). EGG measures included speed quotient (SQ) and open quotient (OQ). Facial tracking measures consisted of maximum jaw displacement. Individual and averaged data were submitted to a series of two-way Analysis of Variances (ANOVAs) or two-way Repeated Measures ANOVAs to determine the effects of the relative position of an utterance in the breath group and the place of articulation of the consonants involved. In addition, mean vowel spaces derived from all three tasks were examined. Results revealed significant changes of VOT, F1, F2, SNR and SQ as a function of position. Significant changes of VOT, vowel duration, F2, F0, %jitter, %shimmer, and maximum jaw displacement as a function of place of articulation were also evident. In particular, breath group control was found to result in expansion of vowel space, especially for individuals with CP. These findings suggest that proper phrasing enhances articulatory and phonatory stability, providing empirical evidences in support of its usage in treating individuals with CP.