Measuring Speech Comprehensibility in Students with Down Syndrome Purpose There is an ongoing need to develop assessments of spontaneous speech that focus on whether the child's utterances are comprehensible to listeners. This study sought to identify the attributes of a stable ratings-based measure of speech comprehensibility, which enabled examining the criterion-related validity of an orthography-based measure of the ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2016
Measuring Speech Comprehensibility in Students with Down Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Paul J. Yoder
    Special Education, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Tiffany Woynaroski
    Hearing & Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Stephen Camarata
    Hearing & Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Disclosure: Paul J. Yoder and Stephen M. Camarata are the primary authors of the Broad Target Speech Recasts approach. Neither receives financial gain from the use of this treatment.
    Disclosure: Paul J. Yoder and Stephen M. Camarata are the primary authors of the Broad Target Speech Recasts approach. Neither receives financial gain from the use of this treatment. ×
  • Correspondence to Paul J. Yoder: paul.yoder@vanderbilt.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Julie Liss
    Associate Editor: Julie Liss×
Article Information
Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2016
Measuring Speech Comprehensibility in Students with Down Syndrome
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2016, Vol. 59, 460-467. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-15-0149
History: Received April 20, 2015 , Revised August 25, 2015 , Accepted October 7, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2016, Vol. 59, 460-467. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-15-0149
History: Received April 20, 2015; Revised August 25, 2015; Accepted October 7, 2015

Purpose There is an ongoing need to develop assessments of spontaneous speech that focus on whether the child's utterances are comprehensible to listeners. This study sought to identify the attributes of a stable ratings-based measure of speech comprehensibility, which enabled examining the criterion-related validity of an orthography-based measure of the comprehensibility of conversational speech in students with Down syndrome.

Method Participants were 10 elementary school students with Down syndrome and 4 unfamiliar adult raters. Averaged across-observer Likert ratings of speech comprehensibility were called a ratings-based measure of speech comprehensibility. The proportion of utterance attempts fully glossed constituted an orthography-based measure of speech comprehensibility.

Results Averaging across 4 raters on four 5-min segments produced a reliable (G = .83) ratings-based measure of speech comprehensibility. The ratings-based measure was strongly (r > .80) correlated with the orthography-based measure for both the same and different conversational samples.

Conclusion Reliable and valid measures of speech comprehensibility are achievable with the resources available to many researchers and some clinicians.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by the Institute of Education Science (R324A100225; awarded to P. Yoder and S. Camarata) and supported by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development through the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (P30HD15052; awarded to E. Dykens). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Institute of Education Science. We are very grateful to our staff (Elizabeth Gardner, Catherine Bush, Jenny Elrod, Amanda Johnson, Tricia Paulley, Rebecca Frey, Megan Ochab, and Meghan Weber), the families who trust us with their children, and the raters who genverously gave of their time and effort. P. J. Yoder and S. Camarata are the primary authors of the Broad Target Speech Recasts approach. Neither receives financial gain from the use of this treatment.
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