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JSLHR_57_6_2116Supp1.pdf (106.2 kB)

Retroflex Versus Bunched in Treatment for Rhotic Misarticulation (Byun et al., 2014)

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posted on 2014-12-01, 00:00 authored by Tara McAllister Byun, Elaine R. Hitchcock, Michelle T. Swartz
Purpose To document the efficacy of ultrasound biofeedback treatment for misarticulation of the North American English rhotic in children. Because of limited progress in the first cohort, a series of two closely related studies was conducted in place of a single study. The studies differed primarily in the nature of tongue-shape targets (e.g., retroflex, bunched) cued during treatment. Method Eight participants received 8 weeks of individual ultrasound biofeedback treatment targeting rhotics. In Study 1, all 4 participants were cued to match a bunched tongue-shape target. In Study 2, participants received individualized cues aimed at eliciting the tongue shape most facilitative of perceptually correct rhotics.
Results Participants in Study 1 showed only minimal treatment effects. In Study 2, all participants demonstrated improved production of rhotics in untreated words produced without biofeedback, with large to very large effect sizes. Conclusions The results of Study 2 indicate that with proper parameters of treatment, ultrasound biofeedback can be a highly effective intervention for children with persistent rhotic errors. In addition, qualitative comparison of Studies 1 and 2 suggests that treatment for the North American English rhotic should include opportunities to explore different tongue shapes, to find the most facilitative variant for each individual speaker.


We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following individuals: Penelope Bacsfalvi, Suzanne Boyce, Sue Schmidlin, and Jonathan Preston (clinical consultants); Sarah Granquist (treating clinician); Diana Barral, Olivia Bell, and Jackie Ostrander (student assistants); and Risa Battino, Sarah Carmody, Meghan Hemmer, Laura Ksyniak, Lacey Macdonald, and Lauren Winner (clinical data raters). Finally, we thank our participants and their families for their cooperation throughout the study. Aspects of this research were presented at Ultrafest VI (2013) and the annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Chicago (2013). This project was supported by NIH R03DC 012883 (McAllister Byun).