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J Speech Hear Disord. 1987 Aug;52(3):232-42.

Predictors of phonologic inadequacy in young children prone to otitis media.

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Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois, Champaign 61820.


Children who have experienced recurrent or persistent otitis media with effusion (OME) at an early age often evidence deficient phonological skills in preschool that require remediation. If it were possible to identify these children before age 3, speech stimulation procedures and/or medical preventive measures might be considered. Forty children between the ages of 18 and 35 months who were scheduled for tympanostomy and tube placement were assessed audiologically and phonologically, data from their medical histories were tabulated, and parental educational and occupational status were determined. The subjects were reexamined at intervals of 3-4 months until their phonological performance reached a level indicating that broad phoneme-class or syllable-position remediation would not be necessary, or they had passed their third birthday. Discriminant analysis and multiple regression procedures indicated that certain measures or conditions, in combination, are good predictors of later phonologic inadequacy. Low age-weighted scores on production of velars, liquids, and postvocalic singleton obstruents, along with elevated thresholds at 500 Hz and a history of early onset and late remission from OME, were the most important variables characterizing children who did not catch up phonologically by age 3. Importantly, data from no one area alone could identify these children as reliably as combined data from the three areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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