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J Commun Disord. 2006 Mar-Apr;39(2):139-57. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

Dimensions of early speech sound disorders: A factor analytic study.

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Department of Pediatrics, Rainbow Babies and Childrens Hospital, Behavioral Pediatrics and Psychology 6038, Case Western Reserve University, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-6038,


The goal of this study was to classify children with speech sound disorders (SSD) empirically, using factor analytic techniques. Participants were 3-7-year olds enrolled in speech/language therapy (N = 185). Factor analysis of an extensive battery of speech and language measures provided support for two distinct factors, representing the skill dimensions of articulation/phonology and semantic/syntactic skills. To validate these factors, 38 of the children were followed to school age to re-evaluate speech and language skills and assess reading/spelling achievement. The validity of the two factors was supported by their differential associations with school-age reading and spelling achievement, persistence of SSD, and affection status in family members. A closer relationship of the family member to the proband and male gender predicted higher odds of a disorder. The findings suggest that articulation/phonology and language abilities are at least partially independent in children with SSD and that these constructs have distinct clinical and biological correlates.


The reader will develop knowledge about subtypes of speech sound disorders, understand the relationship between early speech sound disorders and later reading and spelling difficulties, and obtain information concerning familial transmission of speech sound disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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