Communication and language development for Adults

Communication is fundamental to the long-term independence and social competence of adults living with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy can affect a person’s ability to finely coordinate the muscles around the mouth and tongue that are needed for speech. The respiratory coordination that is needed to support speech can also be affected, e.g. some people may sound ‘breathy’ when they speak. Some adults with cerebral palsy may not be able to produce any sounds, others may be able to produce sounds but have difficulty controlling their movement enough to produce speech that is clear and understood by others.

For those with restricted speech, an augmentative or alternative communication system may assist. Augmentative communication devices are tools and methods that help individuals communicate more easily and effectively. They can include things such as communication boards (a board with pictures representing a peron’s daily needs), symbol systems, programmable switches, electronic communication devices, speech synthesizers, recorded speech devices, communication enhancement software, and voiced word processing. This technology can help a person who has difficulty speaking feel more independent and take part in activities with others.

3 out of 5 people with cerebral palsy have a speech impairment.