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Segmental Variability and Phonological Awareness in Preschoolers With and Without Phonological Disorders
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between types of speech errors, including lexical and segmental variability, and phonological awareness in young children with and without speech sound disorders.
Methods: This study included 40 children, 20 with typical speech and language, and 20 with speech sound disorder and typical language. Groups were matched on gender, age, maternal education, receptive and expressive vocabulary, nonverbal intelligence, and expressive morphosyntax. Hierarchical regression modeling was used to identify the best fit model for the relationship between vocabulary, speech errors, and phonological awareness.
Results: Children with speech sound disorder had poorer phonological awareness skills than typically developing peers, despite similar vocabulary sizes. Segmental variability accounted for more variance in phonological awareness than did lexical variability, omissions, or atypical errors.
Conclusion: Children with high levels of segmental variability have poor phonological awareness. Segmental variability on a single-word test of articulation may be an initial indicator of phonological awareness deficits in preschool-aged children.