Changes in Intelligibility of Children with Downs Syndrome as Perceived by Familiar and Unfamiliar Listeners: Post and Three Months Post EPG Intervention
Philp, C. (2014) Changes in Intelligibility of Children with Downs Syndrome as Perceived by Familiar and Unfamiliar Listeners: Post and Three Months Post EPG Intervention, no. 60.
This study set out to discover if familiar and unfamiliar listeners perceive changes in speech intelligibility in children with Downs syndrome (DS) following Electropalatography (EPG) therapy. Any progress made and maintenance of progress three months post-therapy are discussed, in addition to transference onto untreated phonemes. Four children with DS selected from a larger study, received EPG input from the school learning assistant with the aim of carrying out five sessions a week over twelve weeks. Each child had an individualised word list which contained phonemes considered incorrect at the pre-therapy recording. For the purpose of this study, four phonemes were chosen from each child's list: two treated and two untreated, which were presented in word-initial position. Familiar listeners to the child completed two questionnaires at the pre, post and three months post-therapy stage, rating aspects of their child's speech and giving comments where felt necessary. Secondly, twelve naïve listeners unknown to the child, listened to the words and carried out an open-ended word- identification task then, when given the target, rated the words based on clarity. Results show that unfamiliar listeners reported changes in intelligibility over time for certain words, most of which maintain following the withdrawal of EPG intervention. Occasionally, transference of skills occurs onto untreated phonemes of equal or less complexity than the targeted phoneme. Familiar listeners typically note non-significant improvements on the questionnaire rating scale however, tend to provide positive comments, highlighting the importance of a comments section in gaining a true perspective from the listener.