Year of Publication


Document Type



Health Sciences


Rehabilitation Sciences

First Advisor

Lori Gonzalez

Second Advisor

Colleen Schneck


A phonological disorder is a communication disorder of the speech sound system characterized by an impaired ability to use developmentally expected speech sounds and sound patterns to communicate with others (Bauman-Waengler, 2004). This impairment affects the clarity of a child's speech and how easily a child's speech can be understood. As stated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, 1994), difficulties with speech sound production may interfere with academic achievement, social communication, or future occupational achievement. Children with phonological impairments are generally viewed as being at risk for reading difficulties (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2001).Clinicians and researchers in speech-language pathology agree that efficient treatment of children who have moderate to severe phonological disorders is critical. Although imitation and structured practice are primary strategies employed by speech- language pathologists for practicing speech production, using communicative tasks to facilitate generalization during phonological intervention has been suggested in the literature.The purpose of this study was to determine if communication-centered phonological intervention would be effective in improving speech production in preschool children with moderate to severe phonological disorders. A single subject multiple probe across subjects research design (Horner andamp; Baer, 1978) was used to assess the effectiveness of communication-centered phonological intervention with three preschool children. The communication-centered phonological intervention in this investigation consisted of the combined application of focused stimulation of key words during joint storybook reading and interactive practice of key words using communicative feedback.All three subjects demonstrated some type of phonological improvement following the communication-centered intervention. Two out of the three subjects demonstrated improvement in the use of the target phonological patterns during theintervention sessions with one of these participants demonstrating generalization of the target phonological pattern to conversational speech. Although the third subject did not demonstrate improvement during the intervention period, follow-up testing revealed some system-wide changes in his phonology that may be attributed to the intervention. Further investigation of communication-centered phonological intervention is warranted.