July 14, 2018

Screening children’s speech: The impact of imitated elicitation and word position

This morning the following paper was accepted for publication:
McLeod, S. & Masso, S. (2018, in press July). Screening children’s speech: The impact of imitated elicitation and word position. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.
Here is the abstract
Purpose: Diagnostic decision-making is influenced by the attributes of assessments. In order to propose time-efficient protocols for screening children’s speech this study aimed to determine whether eliciting imitated responses and analyzing productions in different word positions resulted in different levels of consonant accuracy.
Method: Participants were 267 English-speaking preschool-aged children in the Sound Start Study whose parents were concerned about their speech. They were assessed using the International Speech Screener (ISS, McLeod, 2013) using either imitated or spontaneous elicitation. Productions were compared with an established diagnostic assessment of speech accuracy (Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology, DEAP-Phonology, Dodd et al., 2002).
Results: Participants’ performance on the ISS was significantly correlated with performance on the DEAP-Phonology. Eliciting imitated productions on the ISS (M = 2:18 mins, SD = 0:59) took significantly less time than spontaneous productions (M = 6:32 mins, SD = 2:34). There was no significant difference in accuracy of imitated versus spontaneous productions in word-initial position; however, consonants were significantly less accurate in spontaneous than imitated productions in other word positions. Overall, participants had significantly lower consonant accuracy in word-initial position than within word or word-final positions. Examination of the influence of word position on test discrimination, using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses, revealed acceptable test discrimination for percentage of consonants correct across word positions.
Conclusions: This research supports using imitated elicitation and analysis of percentage of consonants correct in word-initial position as a time-efficient procedure when screening the speech of English-speaking preschool children.