Introduction: The benefits of different practice conditions in limb-based rehabilitation of motor disorders are well documented. Conversely, the role of practice structure in the treatment of motor-based speech disorders has only been minimally investigated. Considering this limitation, the current study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of selected practice conditions in spatial and temporal learning of novel speech utterances in individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD). Methods: Participants included 16 individuals with PD who were randomly and equally assigned to constant, variable, random, and blocked practice conditions. Participants in all four groups practiced a speech phrase for two consecutive days, and reproduced the speech phrase on the third day without further practice or feedback. Results: There were no significant differences (p > 0.05) between participants across the four practice conditions with respect to either spatial or temporal learning of the speech phrase. Overall, PD participants demonstrated diminished spatial and temporal learning in comparison to healthy controls. Tests of strength of association between participants' demographic/clinical characteristics and speech-motor learning outcomes did not reveal any significant correlations. Conclusions: The findings from the current study suggest that repeated practice facilitates speech-motor learning in individuals with PD irrespective of the type of practice. Clinicians need to be cautious in applying practice conditions to treat speech deficits associated with PD based on the findings of non-speech-motor learning tasks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Clinical Neurology