Longitudinal Changes in Articulation Rate and Phonetic Phrase Length in Children With Speech Delay This study examined long-term changes in articulation rate (the pace at which speech segments are produced) and phonetic phrase length in the conversational speech of two groups of children with speech delay (SD) of unknown origin. Initial testing for both groups occurred at preschool age, with follow-up testing conducted for ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2002
Longitudinal Changes in Articulation Rate and Phonetic Phrase Length in Children With Speech Delay
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Peter Flipsen, Jr.
    University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • Contact author: Peter Flipsen Jr., Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 425 South Stadium Hall, Knoxville, TN, 37996-0740. Email: pflipsen@utk.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2002
Longitudinal Changes in Articulation Rate and Phonetic Phrase Length in Children With Speech Delay
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2002, Vol. 45, 100-110. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2002/008)
History: Received February 14, 2001 , Accepted November 19, 2001
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2002, Vol. 45, 100-110. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2002/008)
History: Received February 14, 2001; Accepted November 19, 2001
Web of Science® Times Cited: 19

This study examined long-term changes in articulation rate (the pace at which speech segments are produced) and phonetic phrase length in the conversational speech of two groups of children with speech delay (SD) of unknown origin. Initial testing for both groups occurred at preschool age, with follow-up testing conducted for the Early Follow-Up Group (n= 17) at age 9 years and for the Late Follow-Up Group (n= 36) at age 12–16 years. At follow-up testing both groups produced significantly faster articulation rates (measured in both syllables per second and phones per second) and significantly longer phonetic phrases (measured in both syllables and phones) than at initial testing. Articulation rates at both test times were also judged to be similar to published values from typically developing children of similar ages when measured in syllables per second. However, findings for rate in phones per second suggested that at least at initial testing the children were articulating speech at a slower rate than their typically developing peers. This latter finding, however, may have been an artifact of the high frequency of errors—such as cluster reduction and final consonant deletion —observed in the initial samples. It would appear, therefore, that children with SD of unknown origin may start out with slower than normal articulation rates but eventually catch up to their typically developing peers.

Acknowledgments
Portions of this study were included in a doctoral dissertation completed by the author at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the direction of Lawrence D. Shriberg, PhD. Many thanks to Dr Shriberg and to the following for their assistance: Chad Allen, Bruce Anderson, Kate Bunton, Maria Cavicchio, Robin Chapman, Frederic Gruber, Dan Heindl, Rebecca Hinke, Raymond Kent, Judith Kuster, Joan Kwiatkowski, Jane Loncke, Marlys Macken, Jane McSweeny, Paul Milenkovic, Catherine Trost-Steffen, Gary Weismer, David Wilson, and Kathryn Yost. Many thanks also to the children (and their parents) who participated in the study. A portion of this paper was presented as a poster at the 1999 Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders in Madison, Wisconsin. Preparation of this paper was supported in part by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Grant DC00496.
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