Teachers' perceptions of students with speech sound disorders: A quantitative and qualitative analysis

Megan Overby, Thomas Carrell, John Bernthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study examined 2nd-grade teachers' perceptions of the academic, social, and behavioral competence of students with speech sound disorders (SSDs). Method: Forty-eight 2nd-grade teachers listened to 2 groups of sentences differing by intelligibility and pitch but spoken by a single 2nd grader. For each sentence group, teachers rated the speaker's academic, social, and behavioral competence using an adapted version of the Teacher Rating Scale of the Self-Perception Profile for Children (S. Harter, 1985) and completed 3 open-ended questions. The matched-guise design controlled for confounding speaker and stimuli variables that were inherent in prior studies. Results: Statistically significant differences in teachers' expectations of children's academic, social, and behavioral performances were found between moderately intelligible and normal intelligibility speech. Teachers associated moderately intelligible low-pitched speech with more behavior problems than moderately intelligible high-pitched speech or either pitch with normal intelligibility. One third of the teachers reported that they could not accurately predict a child's school performance based on the child's speech skills, one third of the teachers causally related school difficulty to SSD, and one third of the teachers made no comment. Conclusion: Intelligibility and speaker pitch appear to be speech variables that influence teachers' perceptions of children's school performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-341
Number of pages15
JournalLanguage, speech, and hearing services in schools
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2007



  • Intelligibility
  • Literacy
  • School-age children
  • Speech disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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