ReaDySpeech for people with dysarthria after stroke: a feasibility study

Student thesis: Phd


Dysarthria describes the impaired speech intelligibility caused by weakness of muscles involved in speech following stroke. This is a common consequence of stroke and can have a detrimental impact on self-confidence leading to social isolation for many. There is limited evidence for dysarthria intervention but we know that research into speech difficulties after stroke is a priority for stroke survivors. An online speech rehabilitation programme was developed, ReaDySpeech, with the potential to offer improved quality of independent practice, increased intensity of practice and the ability to record interaction. The research presented in this thesis aimed to systematically examine the existing evidence base, to carry out some preliminary acceptability work on ReaDySpeech, and implement a feasibility trial. The initial study was a Cochrane systematic review of the effectiveness of interventions for people with non-progressive dysarthria after stroke or other adult-acquired brain injury. This found insufficient evidence to know whether dysarthria intervention is effective or not. This led to a study of early acceptability work for ReaDySpeech and whether there were any technical barriers to use. This found no significant technical barriers other than lack of Wi-Fi and it was acceptable to participants and therapists. This enabled a progression to a feasibility trial following amendments and improvements to the protocol and ReaDySpeech itself. The feasibility trial found recruitment, retention and the intervention were all feasible to carry out during a trial. Further in-depth consideration of the findings indicates more work is needed to widen recruitment and to develop the intervention, comparator and methodology of a future trial for this to be a success with valid clinical implications. This thesis reports this body of work and discusses potential future directions for dysarthria research. 
Date of Award31 Dec 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPaul Conroy (Supervisor), Audrey Bowen (Supervisor) & Sarah Tyson (Supervisor)


  • randomised controlled trial
  • feasibility
  • Dysarthria
  • Stroke
  • computer

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