student profile: Mrs Steph Hearnshaw


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Input processing and word learning skills of Australian-English speaking preschoolers with speech sound disorders

Supervisors: Elise BAKER , Natalie MUNRO

Thesis abstract:

Speech sound disorders (SSDs) are common and feature dominantly on speech pathologists’ caseloads. The presenting problem for these children is poor speech intelligibility, however more recent research suggests their poor speech intelligibility is symptomatic of a broader underlying phonological processing problem.

Phonological processing involves the ability to perceive speech, create lexical representations of words comprising semantic and phonological information, and retrieve these representations to produce speech. Difficulty with one or more of these processes can manifest as: word learning difficulties, impoverished vocabularies, literacy difficulties, and poor speech intelligibility. Historically, the management of SSDs has focused on speech intelligibility, neglecting the underlying problem. Moreover, little is known about how children with SSDs perceive and learn words.

In this thesis the role of the underlying phonological processing problem for children with SSDs is considered. The thesis will begin with a review of previous literature examining the speech perception and word learning skills of children with SSDs. The results from experimental studies designed to examine the speech perception and word-learning skills of preschool-age children with and without SSDs will then be considered. This research will use a feasible novel Australian-English speech perception assessment and experimental word learning task. The findings from this research will inform theoretical understandings about the nature of SSDs in children, and have implications for speech pathology practice, including assessment and intervention procedures.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Hearnshaw, S., Baker, E., Munro, N. (2018). The speech perception skills of children with and without speech sound disorder. Journal of Communication Disorders, 71, 61-71. [More Information]

2018

  • Hearnshaw, S., Baker, E., Munro, N. (2018). The speech perception skills of children with and without speech sound disorder. Journal of Communication Disorders, 71, 61-71. [More Information]

Note: This profile is for a student at the University of Sydney. Views presented here are not necessarily those of the University.