Factsheet - Dysarthria: Causes


Information taken from


[Note that a speech and language therapist is referred to as a speech and language pathologist in the USA] 

The causes of dysarthria can be many, including toxic, metabolic, degenerative diseases (such as Parkinsonism, ALS, Huntington's Disease, Niemann Pick disease, Ataxia etc.), traumatic brain injury, or thrombotic or embolic stroke. These result in lesions to key areas of the brain involved in planning, executing, or regulating motor operations in skeletal muscles (i.e. muscles of the limbs), including muscles of the head and neck (dysfunction of which characterises dysarthria).

These can result in dysfunction, or failure of the motor or somatosensory cortex of the brain, corticobulbar pathways, the cerebellum, basal nuclei, brainstem (from which the cranial nerves originate), or the neuro-muscular junction which block the nervous system's ability to activate motor units and effect correct range and strength of movements.


  • Brain tumour
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Head injury
  • Hypothermia
  • Lyme disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Stroke
  • Wilson's disease
  • Intercranial Hypertension (formerly known as Pseudotumor Cerebri)
  • Tay-Sachs, and Late Onset Tay-Sachs (LOTS), disease.


You may want to read further in our factsheet - dysarthria and dysphasia


Last updated November 2012