3 Clear Speech Strategies for Adult Speech Therapy

In this article, you’ll learn how to use the Clear Speech Strategies to improve speech intelligibility in your adult speech therapy patients.

Clear Speech Strategies and Dysarthria

clear speech strategies dysarthria

Many neurological conditions, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and TBI, may cause dysarthria.

Dysarthric speech can sound slurred, mumbled, or muffled, and patients must often find ways to compensate to be understood.

Clear Speech Strategies are one way to improve the intelligibility caused by dysarthria. 

What Are Clear Speech Strategies?

what are clear speech strategies?

Clear speech strategies are a simple but effective way to treat dysarthria.

They’re based on 3 principles: Talk BIG, Talk LOUD, Talk SHORT.

Here’s how to do them:

  1. Talk BIG. Over-articulate
    • ‘Move your mouth’ and enunciate each sound. Using a wide, open mouth improves intelligibility.
  2. Talk LOUD. Increase your volume
    • Increasing volume naturally slows the rate of speech and improves overall articulation.
  3. Talk SHORT. Use short phrases
    • Using short phrases and pausing more often to breathe will naturally slow the rate of speech, improving clarity.

For more intelligibility exercises and materials, visit our shop.

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How To Use Clear Speech Strategies

how to use clear speech strategies

Reading is a great way to practice the Clear Speech Strategies. Start at your patient’s current level, then increase the challenge as they improve.

For example, if your patient is consistently intelligible at the single-word level, then work on reading phrases. If they’re consistently intelligible reading paragraphs, then practice clear speech strategies during conversation.

Below is a hierarchy of reading tasks:

1. Phrases

  • It’s ok.
  • No way.
  • I’m fine.
  • Let’s go.
  • Are you ready?

Click for more phrases.

2. Sentences

  • Yesterday I went for a walk down to the store.
  • I love it when the spring flowers start to bloom.
  • I need to go to the bathroom before we go.
  • I need to make a doctor’s appointment.
  • I am so tired today from my therapy.

Click for more sentences.

3. Paragraphs

  • Mary enjoyed her new job at the post office. She had a consistent schedule, paid sick time, and paid holidays off. She even had a matching retirement plan. 
  • Every Saturday, Saul loves going to the local Farmer’s Market. He enjoys picking out fresh produce and locally baked goods. He loves seeing familiar faces and seeing his community come together.

For additional phrases, visit our shop

4. Page-Level Reading

To keep treatment functional and patient-centered, it’s best to use books, magazines, or other materials that your patient enjoys and is already reading. The newspaper or local magazine are great options.

For free classic books in the public domain, check out Project Gutenberg.

5. Monologues & Conversation

The ultimate goal is for your patients to use the Clear Speech Strategies in conversation. To practice this, ask open-ended questions or discuss topics you know your patient enjoys.

  • Tell me about your first job.
  • Where was your favorite place to live and why?
  • Tell me about a favorite childhood memory.
  • What is your favorite food and why?
  • What did you do with your family this weekend?

Clear Speech Example: Video

Speech-language pathologist Alisha Kleindel demonstrates the Clear Speech Strategies.

More Motor Speech Resources

Visit our shop for pre-made dysarthria treatment activities, handouts, wordlists, and much more!


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