Children’s polysyllables were investigated for changes in (1) consonant and vowel accuracy, (2) error frequency and (3) polysyllable maturity over time. Participants were 80 children (4;0-5;4) with phonologically-based speech sound disorders who participated in the Sound Start Study and completed the Polysyllable Preschool Test (Baker, 2013) three times. Polysyllable errors were categorised using the Word-level Analysis of Polysyllables (WAP, Masso, 2016a) and the Framework of Polysyllable Maturity (Framework, Masso, 2016b), which represents five maturity levels (Levels A-E). Participants demonstrated increased polysyllable accuracy over time as measured by consonant and vowel accuracy, and error frequency. Children in Level A, the lowest level of maturity, had frequent deletion errors, alterations of phonotactics and alterations of timing. Participants in Level B were 8.62 times more likely to improve than children in Level A at Time 1. Children who present with frequent deletion errors may be less likely to improve their polysyllable accuracy.
The authors thank Kathryn Crowe, Yvonne Wren, Sue Roulstone, Ilona Sim, Charlotte Howland, and Felicity McKellar who provided support with data collection and entry.
This research was supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (DP130102545). The first author acknowledges support from an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship from the Department of Education and a Higher Degree Research Grant from Speech Pathology Australia.
1 IRSAD index scores, ranging from 1 to 10, are decile ranks allocated to postcodes throughout Australia and were used to report socioeconomic status. An IRSAD index score of 1 represents postcodes in areas of least advantage and 10 represents postcodes of most advantage.