Sound acquisition occurs gradually. Along the way, children may produce intermediate forms between two sounds, such as a palatalized /s/ as in [sju] falling between /su/ and /ʃu/ for the target word "shoe." Electropalatography studies often show “merged” articulations of sounds (i.e., somewhere between alveolar and palatal). Therefore, data collection for children with speech sound disorders should capture a range of forms from true substitutions to intermediate productions to accurate productions. Munson, Schellinger & Carlson (2012) suggested that it may be more effective for clinicians to take data on a visual analog scale rather than a +/- scale that does not describe intermediate forms or more closely approximated forms. This resource includes three visual analog scales: one for three-element clusters (e.g., /str-/), one for two-element clusters (e.g., /fl-/), and one for singletons (e.g., /s/ or /r/). Both cluster forms provide a scale of 1 to 7 as well as suggestions for the kinds of productions that correspond to each score. The singletons form assigns a 1 to 5 scale as shown below. In particular, this data would provide more robust information about progress over time for children with /s/ and /r/ distortions. Children do not jump from a true phonemic substitution (e.g., [w] for /r/) (score of 1) to an acoustically-correct production of the target (e.g., accurate /r/). This scale demonstrates such changes over time for children with speech sound disorders.
1 = true phonemic substitution (e.g., [t] for /s/)
2 = not quite true phonemic substitution
3 = in between target and another sound
4 = close to target
5 = acoustically-correct production of target
Progress monitoring is an established best practice. SLPs may utilize these forms to determine how children independently produce their treatment words. A space is provided for clinicians to record the child's average for a particular date. This provides powerful data about a child's progress and can be utilized for children receiving individual or group treatment. For example, if a group includes four children who attend two sessions per week, the SLP may administer this task at the beginning of each session with one child and then rotate through the group in subsequent sessions. This strategy results in rich data for each child every two weeks.