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In this study, a hidden Markov Model was constructed and conditions were investigated that would provide improved performance for a dysarthric speech (isolated word) recognition system. The speaker dependant system was intended to act as an assistive/control tool. A small size vocabulary spoken by three cerebral palsy subjects was chosen. Fast Fourier transform, linear predictive, and Mel frequency cepstral coefficients extracted from data provided training input to several whole-word hidden Markov model configurations. The effect of model structure, number of states, and frame rates were also investigated. It was noted that a 10-state ergodic model using 15 msec frames was better than other configurations. Furthermore, it was found that a Mel cepstrum based model outperformed a fast Fourier transform and linear prediction based model. The system offers effective and robust application as a rehabilitation and/or control tool to assist dysarthric motor impaired individuals.