Influence - Intervention Break - Children - Speech Sound Disorders

  • End date
    Sep 7, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Applied Sciences for Health Professions Upper Austria
Updated on 7 June 2022


Many of the children with speech and language disorders have speech sound disorders. In German-speaking countries, it is estimated that around 16% of children between the ages of three and eight are affected by school entry. The treatment of speech sound disorders aims to enable the transfer of the learned into spontaneous speech. The purpose of this study is to ascertain, whether children, by means of a break in therapy, succeed in transferring, the target phoneme or target consonant cluster - from a certain threshold - to spontaneous language. The researchers compare the effect of the transfer to spontaneous speech situations by means of a twelve-week break from therapy with a continuous therapy.

In addition, the researchers would like to find out whether the acquisition of the grapheme has an additional positive influence on the generalization of the target phoneme or target consonant cluster in spontaneous speech situations.

The researchers also seek to understand individual differences in the generalization effects on the production of the target phoneme / target consonant cluster in spontaneous speech situations, in which the researchers document and evaluate information on the treatment method and treatment duration before the therapy break.


Early detection of language development disorders and a timely delivery of appropriate measures derived from it, can prevent secondary consequences of language learning disorders. In particular, phonologically delayed disorders can have an impact on the development of literacy and place the child at risk of dyslexia. With this knowledge, that early detection and the appropriate measures derived from it can prevent the secondary consequences of a speech sound disorder, speech and language therapists strive to carry out an effective therapeutic process based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). In the field of effectiveness research, there is consensus that the objective, which is tailored to the disorder, is closely linked to the chosen therapeutic method. Therapeutic ICF-oriented measures should be adapted to the needs of the child. Based on the current knowledge, no therapy concept can offer this, if it is used exclusively.

In effectiveness research, disagreement prevails in the area of treatment intensity and the intervention period. The therapy intensity is determined by three factors: number of properly implemented teaching episodes per session (dose), task or activity within which the teaching episodes are delivered (dose form) and the number of sessions per unit of time (e.g. once a week/once a month), It should be noted that the threshold at which speech therapy is still effective and where the intervention period is too short has mostly been derived from observations. It seems that a certain amount of developmental time is required for the consolidation of new skills. It has so far only been stated that the duration of intervention cannot be generalized for each child and that an improvement in the functional capacity of the linguistic output may be between 12 and 20 hours of intervention. In addition to the uncertainty of how high the intensity of therapy must be in order to achieve generalization effects, there is no information in science to date as to which baseline level has to be achieved for it.

Therefore the desire for systematic studies on the question: Which baseline level does a child have to reach in order to transfer the treated phonological process to the spontaneous speech during the therapy break? prevails.

Aim 1 will determine whether a 12-week intervention break in children between the ages of five and six with phonologically delayed development of one phonological process will lead to significant improvements in the transfer of the target phoneme / target consonant cluster in spontaneous speech. On the condition that the threshold of 70-80% correct pronunciation of the target phoneme / target consonant cluster was attained.

Aim 2 will determine whether children, who at the end of the therapy, do not demonstrate 100 percent correct pronunciation of the targeted phoneme / the target consonant cluster in spontaneous speech by acquiring the grapheme/graphemes (the affected treated phoneme / the affected treated consonant cluster) see an improvement of the target phoneme / target consonant cluster in spontaneous speech?

Condition Speech Sound Disorder
Treatment intervention break of 12 weeks
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03972891
SponsorUniversity of Applied Sciences for Health Professions Upper Austria
Last Modified on7 June 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Speech therapists
Written consent to participate in the study after prior written and oral education
At least 2 years activity in the field of children's speech therapy / therapy of infantile speech sound disorders with sufficient practical experience
Phonological delay of one of these phonological process: palatal fronting / sch / to
The treated sound can be formed correctly during therapy in the spontaneous speech situations to 70 - 80%
s / or / ch / to / s /, velar fronting / k g / to / t d / or contact
assimilation / dr / to / gr kr / and max. two phonological processes
The phonological process has not yet been treated by another colleague (the therapy should be carried out by a speech therapist from the beginning)
Parental participation is given (recorded in the regular therapeutic process via anamnesis interview)
Therapy frequency: regular once a week, but at least once every 2 weeks (so that short-term outages due to illness do not lead to exclusion from the study)
Physiologically developed prescriptive skills
almost native German language skills
Written consent of the parent or guardian to participate in the study after previous oral and written information

Exclusion Criteria

Speech therapists
Lack of written consent
Practical experience in the field of children's speech therapy / therapy of infantile speech sound disorders of less than 2 years
Younger than 5 years of age
Therapy sounds are less than 70% correct in a spontaneous speech situation
Inconsistent phonological disorder
Consistent phonological disorder
Childhood apraxia of speech
Myofunctional disorders
Isolated articulation disorder (e.g. lateral or interdental articulation)
Auditory processing disorders
Disorders of speech understanding
Autism spectrum disorders
Cognitive developmental disorders
Deficits in prescriptive skills
Missing written consent of the parents
Clear my responses

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