298 – From ‘I like talking to my Mammy’ to ‘I don’t talk at school’: Understanding the lives of children with speech sound disorders using mixed methods

Presentation - ECV2022-298

From ‘I like talking to my Mammy’ to ‘I don’t talk at school’: Understanding the lives of children with speech sound disorders using mixed methods

Clare Carroll, University of Galway, Ireland (c.carroll@universityofgalway.ie)
Rena Lyons, University of Galway, Ireland (rena.lyons@universityofgalway.ie)
Mary Larkin, University of Galway, Ireland (m.larkin13@universityofgalway.ie)
Mary-Pat O’Malley, University of Galway, Ireland (marypat.omalley@universityofgalway.ie)

Background: Innovative methods are required to ensure children are active participants in the research process as it is only in relatively recent decades that researchers have begun to explore children’s views in speech and language therapy. Previous research has explored the effectiveness of drawing as a tool to gather the views of children with speech sound disorders (SSD), and what these drawings reveal about their feelings about communication and living with SSD. However, to date, no such research exists relating to Irish children with SSD. The current study aims to address this gap in the literature.

Aim: The study explored the use of drawing and verbal descriptions as a method of gathering the perspectives of children with SSD about their communication.  

Method: This study used a mixed-methods framework collecting both quantitative and qualitative data. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit 30 participants with SSD. The mean ages of the children were 5 years 7 months. There were 17 boys and 13 girls. Each child drew four pictures based on the Sound Effects Study Drawing Protocol (McCormack et al., 2022). They were analysed using developmental analysis, psychological analysis and focal point analysis. Also, a meaning-making thematic analysis was used to qualitatively analyse their talking about the drawings.

Results: Most drawings illustrated positivity. Talking was portrayed as an action versus an activity. The drawings demonstrated a variety of communication partners. Children’s commentary revealed more information about their relationships with these communication partners. Colours used varied throughout the drawings; some participants used one colour for all drawings, and some used a variety of colours. When asked to draw something they enjoyed, 70% of the drawings did not require communicative interactions with others (e.g., singing, reading, drawing, playing on the iPad, and picking flowers).

Conclusions: Drawing is an appropriate method to gather the views of children aged 4–7 years old with SSD. The results provide more evidence that children with SSD have positive feelings towards talking.

Implications for children and families: You will be interested to know that the activities children with speech sound disorders find most enjoyable typically do not require talking with others. The children were generally positive about their talking.

Implications for practitioners:  Using drawing and then talking about the drawings can help you understand the child’s perspective of their speech.

Key words: children’s voices, innovations, wellbeing, communication, qualitative methods, quantitative methods

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

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