Dysarthria following surgical resection of childhood posterior fossa tumour (PFT) is most commonly documented in a select group of participants with mutism in the acute recovery phase, thus limiting knowledge of post-operative prognosis for this population of children as a whole. Here we report on the speech characteristics of 13 cases seen long-term after surgical treatment for childhood PFT, unselected for the presence of post-operative mutism (mean time post-surgery=6y10m, range 1;4-12;6 years, two had post-operative mutism), and examine factors affecting outcome. Twenty-six age- and sex- matched healthy controls were recruited for comparison. Participants in both groups had speech assessments using detailed perceptual and acoustic methods. Over two-thirds of the group (69%) with removal of PFT had a profile of typically mild dysarthria. Prominent speech deficits included consonant imprecision, reduced rate, monopitch and monoloudness. We conclude that speech deficits may persist even up to 10 years post-surgery in participants who have not shown mutism in the acute phase. Of cases with unilateral lesions, poorer outcomes were associated with right cerebellar tumours compared to left, consistent with the notion based on adult data that speech is controlled by reciprocal right cerebellar/left frontal interactions. These results confirm the important role of the cerebellum in the control of fine speech movements in children.
2011. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.