Phonology in Swedish-speaking 3-year-olds born with cleft lip and palate and the relationship with consonant production at 18 months.Int J Lang Commun Disord. 2014 Mar-Apr; 49(2):240-54.IJ
Approximately 50% of children born with cleft palate present speech difficulties around 3 years of age, and several studies report on persisting phonological problems after palatal closure. However, studies on early phonology related to cleft palate are few and have so far mainly been carried out on English-speaking children. Studies on phonology related to cleft palate in languages other than English are also warranted.
To assess phonology in Swedish-speaking children born with and without unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP) at 3 years of age, and to identify variables at 18 months that are associated with restricted phonology at age 3 years.
METHODS & PROCEDURES
Eighteen consecutive children born with UCLP and 20 children without cleft lip and palate were included. Transcriptions of audio recordings at 18 months and 3 years were used. Per cent correct consonants adjusted for age (PCC-A), the number of established phonemes, and phonological simplification processes at 3 years were assessed and compared with different aspects of consonant inventory at 18 months.
OUTCOMES & RESULTS
PCC-A, the number of established phonemes, and the total number of phonological processes differed significantly at 3 years between the two groups. Total number of oral consonants, oral stops, dental/alveolar oral stops and number of different oral stops at 18 months correlated significantly with PCC-A at 3 years in the UCLP group.
CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS
As a group, children born with UCLP displayed deviant phonology at 3 years compared with peers without cleft lip and palate. Measures of oral consonant and stop production at 18 months might be possible predictors for phonology at 3 years in children born with cleft palate.