No AccessLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in SchoolsClinical Forum1 Oct 2005

Assessment of Phonological Representations in Children With Speech Impairment

    Purpose: This study explored the use of assessment tasks to examine underlying phonological representations in preschool children with speech impairment. The study also investigated the association between performance on phonological representation tasks and phonological awareness development.

    Method: The performance of 9 children (aged 3;09 [years;months] to 5;03) with moderate or severe speech impairment and 17 children of the same age with typical speech development was investigated on a range of novel receptive-based assessment tasks designed to tap underlying phonological representations.

    Results: Preschool children with speech impairment experienced more difficulty judging correct and incorrect speech productions of familiar multisyllable words and showed inferior performance in the ability to learn nonwords as compared to children without speech impairment. Performance on these tasks was moderately correlated with phonological awareness ability.

    Clinical Implications: Factors such as the precision and accessibility of underlying phonological representations of spoken words may contribute to problems in phonological awareness and subsequent reading development for young children with speech impairment. Receptive-based assessments that examine underlying phonological representations provide clinically relevant information for children with speech impairment.

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