Articulation Rate and Speech-Sound Normalization Failure Not all children with speech delay (SD) of unknown origin develop fully normal speech even with intervention. Many retain residual distortion errors into adolescence and ultimately into adulthood. The current study examined whether articulation rate distinguishes those children who retain residual errors from those who normalize. Two groups of speech-delayed ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2003
Articulation Rate and Speech-Sound Normalization Failure
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Peter Flipsen, Jr.
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Contact author: Peter Flipsen Jr., Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, University of Tennessee, 425 South Stadium Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996. E-mail: pflipsen@utk.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Normal Language Processing / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2003
Articulation Rate and Speech-Sound Normalization Failure
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2003, Vol. 46, 724-737. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/058)
History: Received May 16, 2002 , Accepted December 18, 2002
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2003, Vol. 46, 724-737. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/058)
History: Received May 16, 2002; Accepted December 18, 2002

Not all children with speech delay (SD) of unknown origin develop fully normal speech even with intervention. Many retain residual distortion errors into adolescence and ultimately into adulthood. The current study examined whether articulation rate distinguishes those children who retain residual errors from those who normalize. Two groups of speech-delayed children originally identified at preschool age were retested at age 9 years (the early follow-up group) and at age 12–16 years (the late follow-up group), respectively. No differences in articulation rate were observed at either test time in conversational speech between those children who continued to produce residual distortion errors (RE) compared to those children who had fully normalized speech (NSA). For the late follow-up group, children in the RE outcome group articulated speech at significantly slower rates than the children in the NSA outcome group in an embedded words task using both syllables per second and phones per second measures. Findings suggested that children with SD of unknown origin who fail to normalize may have relative speech-motor deficits and possibly deficits in language formulation skill. Alternatively, slower articulation rate in structured tasks may represent some sort of compensation for the continuing presence of speech-sound errors. Possible motivations for such compensation are discussed.

Acknowledgments
Portions of this study were part of a doctoral dissertation completed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the direction of Lawrence D. Shriberg, PhD. Many thanks to Dr. Shriberg and the following for their assistance: Chad Allen, Kate Bunton, Robin Chapman, Molly Erickson, Frederic Gruber, Stephen Handel, Raymond Kent, Judith Kuster, Joan Kwiatkowski, Marlys Macken, Jane McSweeny, Pearl Payne, Hye-Kyeung Seung, Lori Swanson, Gary Weismer, David Wilson, and Kathryn Yost. Finally, many thanks to the children (and their parents) who participated in the study.
Preparation of this article was supported in part by Grant DC00496 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
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