Speech measures as early indicators of kindergarten speech and language skills
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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to formulate early indicators for children at high risk for speech and language disorders. Indicators are important for acquisition of language from birth to age five. Method: Five children were assessed twice. The first assessment occurred when children were between 18 and 22 months of age. Articulation rate, syllable structure level, and phonetic inventory were calculated based on a twenty-minute speech sample collected while the child played with mother. The second assessment occurred when children were five years old. A standardized articulation test, the Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation-2, and a phonological awareness test, the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing were administered. Additionally, percent consonants correct was determined from 20 minute language samples obtained while the child played with mother. Results: Although all children were developing as expected for the first assessment, two children scored below the expected level on Percent Consonants Correct. Retrospective evaluation of their conversational speech between 18-22 months of age found that one of the children had a lower syllable structure level than the other four children. Conclusion: A syllable structure level of under 2.0 at 22 months may be predictive of speech impairment at age 5 years.