My Speech Problem, Your Listening Problem, and My Frustration: The Experience of Living With Childhood Speech Impairment Purpose The purpose of this article was to understand the experience of speech impairment (speech sound disorders) in everyday life as described by children with speech impairment and their communication partners. Method Interviews were undertaken with 13 preschool children with speech impairment (mild to severe) and 21 significant ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2010
My Speech Problem, Your Listening Problem, and My Frustration: The Experience of Living With Childhood Speech Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jane McCormack
    Charles Sturt University, Albury, Australia
  • Sharynne McLeod
    Charles Sturt University, Albury, Australia
  • Lindy McAllister
    Charles Sturt University, Albury, Australia
  • Linda J. Harrison
    Charles Sturt University, Albury, Australia
  • Contact author: Jane McCormack, School of Teacher Education, Charles Sturt University, P.O. Box 789, Albury, NSW, 2640, Australia. E-mail: jmccormack@csu.edu.au.
  • Lindy McAllister is now at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
    Lindy McAllister is now at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2010
My Speech Problem, Your Listening Problem, and My Frustration: The Experience of Living With Childhood Speech Impairment
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2010, Vol. 41, 379-392. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0129)
History: Received December 18, 2008 , Revised April 8, 2009 , Accepted July 22, 2009
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2010, Vol. 41, 379-392. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0129)
History: Received December 18, 2008; Revised April 8, 2009; Accepted July 22, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 24

Purpose The purpose of this article was to understand the experience of speech impairment (speech sound disorders) in everyday life as described by children with speech impairment and their communication partners.

Method Interviews were undertaken with 13 preschool children with speech impairment (mild to severe) and 21 significant others (family members and teachers).

Results A phenomenological analysis of the interview transcripts revealed 2 global themes regarding the experience of living with speech impairment for these children and their families. The first theme encompassed the problems experienced by participants, namely (a) the child’s inability to “speak properly,” (b) the communication partner’s failure to “listen properly,” and (c) frustration caused by the speaking and listening problems. The second theme described the solutions participants used to overcome the problems. Solutions included (a) strategies to improve the child’s speech accuracy (e.g., home practice, speech-language pathology) and (b) strategies to improve the listener’s understanding (e.g., using gestures, repetition). Both short- and long-term solutions were identified.

Conclusion Successful communication is dependent on the skills of speakers and listeners. Intervention with children who experience speech impairment needs to reflect this reciprocity by supporting both the speaker and the listener and by addressing the frustration they experience.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors wish to thank the children and their families and teachers who participated in this research for sharing their experiences and Jacqui Barr for assisting with data collection. This research was supported by Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant DP0773978 and comprises a portion of the first author’s PhD, which was supervised by the subsequent authors.
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