November 23, 2011

Speech-language pathologists’ knowledge of consonant production

A special issue of Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics has just been published to celebrate Martin J. Ball's 25 years of editorship of the journal. The special issue contains papers from around the world addressing all aspects of clinical linguistics and phonetics.
I was invited to write an article for the special issue, and I chose to triangulate three topics that have been central to Martin's research contributions: transcription, instrumentation, and education.
Here is the reference:
McLeod, S. (2011). Speech-language pathologists’ knowledge of tongue/palate contact for consonant production. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 25(11-12), 1004-1013.
Here is the abstract:
"Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) rely on knowledge of tongue placement to assess and provide intervention. 175 SLPs who worked with children with speech sound disorders (SSD) drew coronal diagrams of tongue/palate contact for 24 English consonants. Comparisons were made between their responses and typical English-speaking adults’ contact established by electropalatography. SLPs were most accurate for consonants with no contact (h, p, f); then velar consonants (g, k, ng). The remaining consonants were rarely accurate (from most to least accurate: l, t, r, z, n, sh, s, zh, y, v, th(voiceless), d, m, b, w, th(voiced), ch, j). SLPs demonstrated good knowledge of contact along the midline, but poor knowledge of contact along lateral margins of the palate. Importantly, SLPs did not show awareness of: lateral bracing (horse-shoe contact) for alveolar consonants (t, d, n, s, z); the groove for s, z, sh, zh; or posterior lateral contact for most other consonants. Accuracy was not influenced by: length of time as SLP, location of SLP training, location of current workplace, proportion of caseload with SSD or childhood apraxia of speech, amount of time spent reading, or exposure to electropalatography. Awareness of coronal tongue placement for consonant production needs targeting in SLP education."