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Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2014 Feb;23(1):27-35.

Lexical and phonological variability in preschool children with speech sound disorder.



The authors of this study examined relationships between measures of word and speech error variability and between these and other speech and language measures in preschool children with speech sound disorder (SSD).


In this correlational study, 18 preschool children with SSD, age-appropriate receptive vocabulary, and normal oral motor functioning and hearing were assessed across 2 sessions. Experimental measures included word and speech error variability, receptive vocabulary, nonword repetition (NWR), and expressive language. Pearson product–moment correlation coefficients were calculated among the experimental measures.


The correlation between word and speech error variability was slight and nonsignificant. The correlation between word variability and receptive vocabulary was moderate and negative, although nonsignificant. High word variability was associated with small receptive vocabularies. The correlations between speech error variability and NWR and between speech error variability and the mean length of children's utterances were moderate and negative, although both were nonsignificant. High speech error variability was associated with poor NWR and language scores.


High word variability may reflect unstable lexical representations, whereas high speech error variability may reflect indistinct phonological representations. Preschool children with SSD who show abnormally high levels of different types of speech variability may require slightly different approaches to intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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