Electromyograms were recorded with hooked-wire electrodes from sixteen lip, tongue and jaw muscles in six normal and seven cerebral palsied adult subjects during a variety of speech and non-speech tasks. The recorded patterns of muscle activity fail to support a number of theories concerning the pathophysiology of dysarthria in cerebral palsy. There was no indication of weakness in individual articulator muscles. There was no evidence of uncontrolled sustained background activity or of abnormal tonic stretch reflex responses in lip or tongue muscles. Primitive or pathological reflexes could not be elicited by orofacial stimulation. No imbalance between positive and negative oral responses was observed. The view that random involuntary movement disrupts essentially normal voluntary control in athetosis was not supported. Each cerebral palsied subject displayed an idiosyncratic pattern of abnormal muscle activity which was reproduced across repetitions of the same phrase, indicating a consistent defect in motor programming.
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