A Multidimensional Investigation of Children's /r/ Productions: Perceptual, Ultrasound, and Acoustic Measures Purpose This study explored relationships among perceptual, ultrasound, and acoustic measurements of children's correct and misarticulated /r/ sounds. Longitudinal data documenting changes across these parameters were collected from 2 children who acquired /r/ over a period of intervention and were compared with data from children with typical speech. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2013
A Multidimensional Investigation of Children's /r/ Productions: Perceptual, Ultrasound, and Acoustic Measures
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Harriet B. Klein
    New York University, NY
  • Tara McAllister Byun
    New York University, NY
  • Lisa Davidson
    New York University, NY
  • Maria I. Grigos
    New York University, NY
  • Correspondence to Harriet Klein: harriet.klein@nyu.edu
  • Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer×
  • Associate Editor: Ken Bleile
    Associate Editor: Ken Bleile×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2013
A Multidimensional Investigation of Children's /r/ Productions: Perceptual, Ultrasound, and Acoustic Measures
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2013, Vol. 22, 540-553. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2013/12-0137)
History: Received October 12, 2012 , Revised February 5, 2013 , Accepted March 3, 2013
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2013, Vol. 22, 540-553. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2013/12-0137)
History: Received October 12, 2012; Revised February 5, 2013; Accepted March 3, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 10

Purpose This study explored relationships among perceptual, ultrasound, and acoustic measurements of children's correct and misarticulated /r/ sounds. Longitudinal data documenting changes across these parameters were collected from 2 children who acquired /r/ over a period of intervention and were compared with data from children with typical speech.

Method Participants were 3 children with typical speech, recorded once, and 2 children with /r/ misarticulation, recorded over 7–8 months. The following data from /r/ produced in nonwords were collected: perceptually rated accuracy, ultrasound measures of tongue shape, and F3 – F2 distance.

Results Regression models revealed significant associations among perceptual, ultrasound, and acoustic measures of /r/ accuracy. The inclusion of quantitative tongue-shape measurements improved the match between the ultrasound and perceptual/acoustic data. Perceptually incorrect /r/ productions were found to feature posteriorly located peaked tongue shapes. Of the children who were seen longitudinally, 1 developed a bunched /r/ and 1 demonstrated retroflexion. The children with typical speech also differed in their tongue shapes.

Conclusion Results support the validity of using qualitative and quantitative ultrasound measures to characterize the accuracy of children's /r/ sounds. Clinically, findings suggest that it is important to encourage pharyngeal constriction while allowing children to find the /r/ tongue shape that best fits their individual vocal tract.

Acknowledgments
The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following individuals: for ultrasound data coding, Ryan Bennett; for acoustic measurements, Elizabeth Varall and Corey Silverstein; for statistical analysis, Peter Halpin; and for input on ultrasound measurement and interpretation, Suzanne Boyce. We also thank our participants and their families for their cooperation throughout the study.
Aspects of this research were presented at Ultrafest IV (2007), the International Child Phonology Conference (2009), and the annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (2009).
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