Assistive speech-based technologies can improve the quality of life for people affected with dysarthria, a motor speech disorder. In this paper, we explore multiple ways to improve Gaussian mixture model and deep neural network (DNN) based hidden Markov model (HMM) automatic speech recognition systems for TORGO dysarthric speech database. This work shows significant improvements over the previous attempts in building such systems in TORGO. We trained speaker-specific acoustic models by tuning various acoustic model parameters, using speaker normalized cepstral features and building complex DNN-HMM models with dropout and sequence-discrimination strategies. The DNN-HMM models for severe and severe-moderate dysarthric speakers were further improved by leveraging specific information from dysarthric speech to DNN models trained on audio files from both dysarthric and normal speech, using generalized distillation framework. To the best of our knowledge, this paper presents the best recognition accuracies for TORGO database till date. © 2001-2011 IEEE.