Examining Variation in Treatment Outcomes among Speakers with Dysarthria

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Studies investigating the outcomes of behavioral treatments for dysarthria commonly focus on group-level effects. Individual differences in treatment response have received less attention. Currently, we have limited understanding of why some speakers respond favorably to certain intervention programs but others do not. This article advocates for a more individualized approach to assessing the efficacy of speech pathology intervention. A conceptual framework is presented, in which the effects of salient speech features and contextual factors upon treatment outcomes are considered statistically, with a view to informing treatment planning and development of future clinical studies. Preliminary evidence is presented in support of this framework—demonstrating that detailed measurements of the speech signal can predict which individuals respond favorably to certain treatment cues, even among participants with the same dysarthria etiology and subtype. Future directions for the study of individualized assessment and treatment approaches are discussed.

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