Semin Speech Lang 2019; 40(02): 081-093
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1677759
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Clinical Challenges: Assessing Toddler Speech Sound Productions

Shari L. DeVeney
1  Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
22 February 2019 (online)


When assessing toddler speech sound productions, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) must be mindful of several important but not insurmountable limitations inherent to working with this young population for whom speech sound production may be of concern. These limitations include: (1) inconsistencies in recommended connected speech sampling size and phonetic transcription accuracy, (2) the prevalence of typical intraword variability for toddlers, (3) limited information regarding the reliability of informal measures of analysis, and (4) irregularities in available normative data for referencing speech sound development and mastery. This article includes a discussion of these factors, an overview of key assessment tools for single-word and connected-speech sampling, advice for current evidence-based practice procedures, and a thorough but not exhaustive listing of opportunities to improve clinical practice in this area. Despite limitations, SLPs working with toddlers have some tools and resources available to facilitate diagnostic procedures that allow for authentic decision-making regarding access to therapeutic services.

Author Financial and Nonfinancial Disclosure: Deveney, S

Financial: The author and colleagues received grant funding for projects cited in the text (DeVeney and Sheridan,[54] Wittler and DeVeney,[57] and DeVeney and Bigler[58]). These funds included internal and external grants awarded to the authors: the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Fund for Undergraduate Scholarly Experiences (FUSE), the UNO University Committee on Research and Creative Activity (UCRCA) faculty award, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Advancing Academic-Research Careers (AARC) award. There are no other financial disclosures related to the attached manuscript.

Nonfinancial: The author does not have nonfinancial relationships to disclose regarding the attached manuscript.