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J Commun Disord. 2013 May-Jun;46(3):264-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2013.02.003. Epub 2013 Apr 6.

Relationship between speech motor control and speech intelligibility in children with speech sound disorders.

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The Speech & Stuttering Institute, 2-150 Duncan Mill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3M4, Canada.


The current study was undertaken to investigate the impact of speech motor issues on the speech intelligibility of children with moderate to severe speech sound disorders (SSD) within the context of the PROMPT intervention approach. The word-level Children's Speech Intelligibility Measure (CSIM), the sentence-level Beginner's Intelligibility Test (BIT) and tests of speech motor control and articulation proficiency were administered to 12 children (3:11 to 6:7 years) before and after PROMPT therapy. PROMPT treatment was provided for 45 min twice a week for 8 weeks. Twenty-four naïve adult listeners aged 22-46 years judged the intelligibility of the words and sentences. For CSIM, each time a recorded word was played to the listeners they were asked to look at a list of 12 words (multiple-choice format) and circle the word while for BIT sentences, the listeners were asked to write down everything they heard. Words correctly circled (CSIM) or transcribed (BIT) were averaged across three naïve judges to calculate percentage speech intelligibility. Speech intelligibility at both the word and sentence level was significantly correlated with speech motor control, but not articulatory proficiency. Further, the severity of speech motor planning and sequencing issues may potentially be a limiting factor in connected speech intelligibility and highlights the need to target these issues early and directly in treatment.


The reader will be able to: (1) outline the advantages and disadvantages of using word- and sentence-level speech intelligibility tests; (2) describe the impact of speech motor control and articulatory proficiency on speech intelligibility; and (3) describe how speech motor control and speech intelligibility data may provide critical information to aid treatment planning.

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