Jo Baker: “Seeing Phonological Disorders More Clearly: Understanding the Impact of Phonological Awareness Intervention on the Speech Sound System of Children with Consistent Phonological Disorder”

In Students by General Account

I completed my undergraduate studies at Newcastle University in 2020, qualifying as a Speech and Language Therapist with a BSc (Hons) in Speech and Language Sciences. Throughout my degree, I learnt the importance of critically analysing and adhering to evidence when delivering speech and language therapy intervention. I put this into practice on clinical placement.

When on placement, I became particularly interested in consistent phonological disorder, a speech sound disorder where a child has consistent use of some non-developmental error patterns in addition to delayed developmental error patterns that compromise their intelligibility. In practice, children with consistent phonological disorder often receive intervention targeted at improving their phonological awareness skills; current evidence suggests that supporting phonological awareness skills consequently addresses speech sound production errors. However, the relationship between consistent phonological disorder and phonological awareness remains unclear. On placement I observed how some children with consistent phonological disorder make little to no improvement in their speech production despite making progress in phonological awareness.

The primary goal of my doctoral research is to understand why the development of good phonological awareness skills does not always generalise to improve speech production in consistent phonological disorder. I aim to produce results which can inform clinical practice so that the best and most time-efficient intervention can be chosen for children with consistent phonological disorder.