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Prevalence and Predictors of Persistent SSD (Wren et al., 2016)

journal contribution
posted on 2022-02-05, 00:40 authored by Yvonne Wren, Laura L. Miller, Tim J. Peters, Alan Emond, Sue Roulstone
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine prevalence and predictors of persistent speech sound disorder (SSD) in children aged 8 years after disregarding children presenting solely with common clinical distortions (i.e., residual errors).
Method: Data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (Boyd et al., 2012) were used. Children were classified as having persistent SSD on the basis of percentage of consonants correct measures from connected speech samples. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to identify predictors.
Results: The estimated prevalence of persistent SSD was 3.6%. Children with persistent SSD were more likely to be boys and from families who were not homeowners. Early childhood predictors identified as important were weak sucking at 4 weeks, not often combining words at 24 months, limited use of word morphology at 38 months, and being unintelligible to strangers at age 38 months. School-age predictors identified as important were maternal report of difficulty pronouncing certain sounds and hearing impairment at age 7 years, tympanostomy tube insertion at any age up to 8 years, and a history of suspected coordination problems. The contribution of these findings to our understanding of risk factors for persistent SSD and the nature of the condition is considered.
Conclusion: Variables identified as predictive of persistent SSD suggest that factors across motor, cognitive, and linguistic processes may place a child at risk.


The UK Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust (Grant 102215/2/13/2) and the University of Bristol provide core support for the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. This research was specifically funded by UK Medical Research Council Grant G0501804 ID 76829 and North Bristol NHS Trust small grants scheme.