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Adults' Attitudes towards Children with Unintelligible Speech Related to Cleft Palate
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

A person’s speech and voice have a big impact on how the person is perceived by others. Individuals with unintelligible speech and/or an atypical voice are often judged in more negative terms regarding personal, physical, physiological and social traits compared to peers with typical speech. Only few studies have considered public attitudes towards children and adults with cleft lip and/or palate (CLP).

Also, numerous studies have investigated whether it is possible to modify a listener’s judgements of a speaker with atypical speech or voice. Some studies have shown that the intervention group that somehow receives information/education about the impairment actually rates the speakers in more positive terms than the control group. However, other studies have shown that receiving information does not change the listener’s perception of the speaker.

This study aims at investigating adults’ attitudes towards cleft palate child speakers to see if there is (1) a correlation between the ratings made by the adult listeners and the level of the child’s speech intelligibility, and (2) if receiving information about cleft palate – as well as the speech difficulties associated with it – has an effect on ratings made by adult listeners. Adult listeners (N=30, control group n=15, experimental group n=15) listened to 30 speech samples; three speech samples from ten different children, with more or less unintelligible speech due to a repaired cleft palate. The adults graded how they perceived the children using a seven point differential scale with eight different adjective pairs describing different personal, physical, psychological and social attributes.

The overall findings in this study indicate that children with unintelligible speech due to CLP are perceived in more negative terms than their peers with typical speech in terms of personal, social, psychological and physical traits. Although, it seems unintelligibility itself is not the main issue as to how a listener perceives children, with or without cleft palate (even though it might be an influence). Receiving information about cleft palate could not be concluded to improve the listeners’ perception of children with unintelligible speech. The group that received information about cleft lip and palate actually perceived the children in more negative terms for the personal trait “Nice/Mean” compared to the group that did not receive such information. However, this study is based upon a limited number of participants (n=30) which should be considered when evaluating the results. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 56 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-119108OAI: diva2:818953
External cooperation
Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University College Cork
Subject / course
Master (one year thesis)/Speech and Language Pathology
2015-05-18, Linköping, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2015-06-10 Created: 2015-06-09 Last updated: 2015-06-10Bibliographically approved

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Skytt, Kajsa
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