Phonologically Disordered German-Speaking Children Speech sound disorders affect more children than any other developmental communication disorder and are associated with long-term social and academic difficulties. The diversity of presenting symptoms has resulted in the need for classifying subgroups of speech disorders. Research on English-speaking children suggests that there are four types of surface speech ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2001
Phonologically Disordered German-Speaking Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Annette V. Fox, PhD
    University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • Barbara Dodd
    University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • Contact author: Annette V. Fox, PhD, Kaiser-Friedrich-Ufer 24, 20253 Hamburg, Germany.
    Contact author: Annette V. Fox, PhD, Kaiser-Friedrich-Ufer 24, 20253 Hamburg, Germany.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: annette.fox@ivx.de
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2001
Phonologically Disordered German-Speaking Children
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2001, Vol. 10, 291-307. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2001/026)
History: Received November 29, 2000 , Accepted February 5, 2001
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2001, Vol. 10, 291-307. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2001/026)
History: Received November 29, 2000; Accepted February 5, 2001
Web of Science® Times Cited: 12

Speech sound disorders affect more children than any other developmental communication disorder and are associated with long-term social and academic difficulties. The diversity of presenting symptoms has resulted in the need for classifying subgroups of speech disorders. Research on English-speaking children suggests that there are four types of surface speech error patterns (B. Dodd, 1995): articulation disorder (e.g., lisp); delay (i.e., normal developmental patterns that are inappropriate for chronological age); consistent use of atypical error patterns (e.g., deletion of all initial consonants); and inconsistent pronunciation of the same lexical items. Classification typologies should be language independent. This study investigated whether the same four subgroups, in similar proportions, would be found in German-speaking children who had disordered speech. A total of 110 monolingual German-speaking children, aged 2 years 7 months to 7 years 7 months, participated in the study. They had been referred for assessment of a suspected speech disorder. The results supported the subgroup classification, providing evidence for the universal character of speech disorders. One significant difference was the relatively high proportion of children classified as having an articulation disorder. This was explained by the uncertainty regarding a lisp as a disorder in German, since it is also found in up to 40% of normally developing children of the same age. The theoretical and clinical implications of the findings are discussed.

Acknowledgments
We would like to thank all children, parents, and preschool teachers for their participation and interest. A special thank you goes to the private practices of speech-language pathologists Karen Grosstück and Holger Schultze for making this study possible. Thanks to Nicole Boheim for her transcription and Sharon Crosbie and Carola Hofmann for help with classification reliability. Further, we are grateful for the financial support given by the Economic and Social Research Council.
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