Background: Velopharyngeal dysfunction (VPD) is generally known to be difficult to influence. Dysfunctional velopharyngeal motor patterns during speech were analyzed with the aim of optimizing the therapeutic strategies.
Methods: Velopharyngeal dysfunctions were videotaped and contextually analyzed during 89 speech sequences in 25 patients. Distinctive features of the motor patterns formed the basis of categorization by three therapists experienced in nasopharyngoscopy. There was a high inter-rater reliability of 94%.
Results: A total of four different function profiles were found: 1. VPD with retracted articulatory placement (compensatory articulation) (38%), 2. VPD with motor coordination problems characterized by mistiming of VP movements and voice onset/offset (15%), 3. VPD with verbal dyspraxia characterized by a silent positioning of VP closure before phonation started and a malregulation of muscle tonus (10%) and 4. phoneme-specific VPD (37%).
Conclusion: Specific knowledge regarding the characteristics of dysfunctional speech motor patterns enables specifically tailored therapy.