Typical speech and language skill of Head Start children

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Authors
Ellis, Carol M.
Advisors
Hodson, Barbara Williams, 1937-
Issue Date
2012-12
Type
Dissertation
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Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the speech and language abilities of typically developing Head Start children ages, 3 years; 8 months to 5 years; 7 months. Three goals were addressed during this study. The first was to determine communication characteristics of typical Head Start children at three different age levels. The second was to determine whether differences between genders and among age groups were significant. The third was to determine which variables (i.e., phonological deviations, percentages of consonants correct, mean length of utterances, receptive vocabulary, age, gender) significantly predict the children’s percentages of intelligible words in connected-speech samples. Results indicated that there was considerable variability in the skill levels of the typically developing children for all of the areas assessed. ANOVA results indicated differences were not significant between boys and girls or among the three different age groups. Results of a stepwise multiple regression analysis indicated that two variables predicted percentages of intelligible words in connected-speech samples: (a) percentages of consonants correct accounted for the greatest amount of variance followed by (b) mean length of utterances. Correlation results indicated that all variables (i.e., phonological deviations, percentages of consonants correct, mean length of utterances, receptive vocabulary, age), except gender, were significantly correlated with percentages of intelligible words. Data analysis revealed a possible plateau of intelligibility and expressive language skills at the older age group levels. These findings may be important to SLPs and Head Start staff when considering speech/language program development and curriculum structure.

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Thesis (Ph.D.)--Wichita State University, College of Health Professions, Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders
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Wichita State University
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