Faculty Advisor

Julie Hanks

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In the field of speech-language pathology, there is a need to investigate the efficacy of different modes of intervention targeting residual speech sounds errors that will have a significant and sustained impact on individuals diagnosed with a speech-sound disorder. Although speech-sound disorders, such as the mispronunciation of /r/ are the most commonly treated errors by speech-language pathologists, not all individuals benefit from conventional modes of therapy. Potential negative implications from residual speech sound errors can include social stigma directly impacting an individual’s ability to comfortably and effectively communicate with others. In addition, a residual speech sound error is a firmly established motor habit making remediation all the more challenging. The purpose of this research project is to conduct a single-subject case study evaluating whether a new mode of therapy that adopts principles of motor learning known as Speech Motor Chaining (SMC) can successfully promote acquisition and retention of the correct production of a misarticulated sound – in this case /r/ - as compared to previous approaches to treatment. SMC involves systematic training of speech movement patterns from lower to higher levels of complexity and includes feedback on both acoustic quality and articulatory position. Based on related research involving SMC, it is hypothesized that this therapy approach will not only increase rate of acquisition but also promote successful retention of correct /r/ production in the context of spoken sentences. Data collected from weekly therapy sessions with an adult with a residual speech sound error of /r/ will be compared to retrospective data collected from the past year to evaluate this hypothesis