When a health professional, including speech and language therapists, treats a child, they will often ask the parent or relative of the child for information on the issue and its impact. Yet children will frequently have an opinion on their speech. This study sought to identify how children feel about talking and whether this changes when talking in different contexts, to different people. They also investigated whether the children’s attitudes toward talking were impacted by the accuracy of their speech and what the relationship was between the children’s attitudes and parental perception of intelligibility and participation. This study saw 132 pre-school-aged children (age 4-5¼ years) complete a 10-item measure, rating their feelings about speech participation and activity, and a 12-item yes-no questionnaire asking about their perceptions of their speech ability and attitudes toward talking. A speech accuracy measure was also completed with the children, and a parent measure of intelligibility. The majority of children (n=101, 78.9%) rated themselves as happy about the way they talk with a range of people, although children with worse speech accuracy were more likely to feel negative toward talking. Additionally, the parents of children with worse speech accuracy perceived their children to be less intelligible. These results have implications for the way that SLTs work, indicating that gaining an insight into how a child feels about their speech and its impact may be important for guiding therapy. If a child has negative feelings towards communication, and their parents also do, it may be that participation and communication partner training should be incorporated unto the treatment plan. 

What do children with speech sound disorders think about their talking?
McCormack J, McLeod S, Crowe K.
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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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