Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Speech Pathology and Audiology

Department

Sciences and Health Professions

First Advisor

Gordon-Pershey, Monica

Subject Headings

Speech Therapy

Abstract

Few studies have explored the characteristics of speech sound productions in children with visual impairments. Similarly, there is little research on how speech- language pathologists provide therapy to improve speech sound productions in children with visual impairments. This study addressed the need for research evidence upon which speech-language pathologists might base their clinical practices. The intent of this report is to contribute to the available information on successful speech-language therapy for speech sound productions in children with visual impairments.

Fifteen speech-language pathologists responded to a survey that inquired about speech sound productions in the children with visual impairments on their caseloads. Respondents reported on the characteristics of 46 children’s speech sound production, including errors attributed to deficits in articulation and motor speech and to phonological processes. Also reported were the children’s co-existing medical diagnoses and developmental conditions, and the history and nature of their visual impairments. Respondents reported on children’s previous treatments for speech sound productions and noted the length of time children had received therapy.

Data were analyzed to determine the characteristics of speech sound productions amongst this sample. The children, as a group, demonstrated developmental speech delays, in some cases well into their teen years. The evidence revealed that the presence of medical and developmental conditions influenced the speech delays in the majority of the children. It cannot be concluded that any of the characteristics of the children’s speech sound productions were the direct result of having visual impairments. Although the respondents reported effective treatment techniques that resulted in improvement of these children’s speech sound productions, the results show improvement for a sample of children who have a variety of developmental disorders, not for a specific sample of children with visual impairments.

This study contributes a detailed report of speech sound production characteristics in children who, despite a diversity of co-existing diagnoses, have visual impairment in common. Findings provide practicing speech-language pathologists with a point of reference regarding the characteristics of speech sound productions in children with visual impairments, as well as efficacious techniques for treating children with visual impairments.

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