Speech–Language Pathology Evaluation and Management of Hyperkinetic Disorders Affecting Speech and Swallowing Function

  • Julie M Barkmeier-Kraemer
  • Heather M Clark

Abstract

Background: Hyperkinetic dysarthria is characterized by abnormal involuntary movements affecting respiratory, phonatory, and articulatory structures impacting speech and deglutition. Speech–language pathologists (SLPs) play an important role in the evaluation and management of dysarthria and dysphagia. This review describes the standard clinical evaluation and treatment approaches by SLPs for addressing impaired speech and deglutition in specific hyperkinetic dysarthria populations.

Methods: A literature review was conducted using the data sources of PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar. Search terms included 1) hyperkinetic dysarthria, essential voice tremor, voice tremor, vocal tremor, spasmodic dysphonia, spastic dysphonia, oromandibular dystonia, Meige syndrome, orofacial, cervical dystonia, dystonia, dyskinesia, chorea, Huntington’s Disease, myoclonus; and evaluation/treatment terms: 2) Speech–Language Pathology, Speech Pathology, Evaluation, Assessment, Dysphagia, Swallowing, Treatment, Management, and diagnosis.

Results: The standard SLP clinical speech and swallowing evaluation of chorea/Huntington’s disease, myoclonus, focal and segmental dystonia, and essential vocal tremor typically includes 1) case history; 2) examination of the tone, symmetry, and sensorimotor function of the speech structures during non-speech, speech and swallowing relevant activities (i.e., cranial nerve assessment); 3) evaluation of speech characteristics; and 4) patient self-report of the impact of their disorder on activities of daily living. SLP management of individuals with hyperkinetic dysarthria includes behavioral and compensatory strategies for addressing compromised speech and intelligibility. Swallowing disorders are managed based on individual symptoms and the underlying pathophysiology determined during evaluation.

Discussion: SLPs play an important role in contributing to the differential diagnosis and management of impaired speech and deglutition associated with hyperkinetic disorders.