Characterizing Multilingual Children's Functional Speech Intelligibility in the Jamaican Context Through Parent Perspectives

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Jessica Saylor
Karla Washington


By Jessica Saylor, Speech Language Hearing Sciences

Advisor: Karla Washington

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Abstract: This international community-based participatory study examined parents' perspectives of Jamaican Creole (JC)-English-speaking preschoolers' ability to be clear and understandable across multiple communication partners (i.e., functional speech intelligibility) in the COVID-19-milieu. JC is a minority language with speakers of JC-English representing an understudied but growing linguistic community in the US. The current evidence base on multilingual children's speech primarily consists of data based on well-studied languages and linguistic paradigms, leading to a narrow understanding of speech development. This practice contributes to the ongoing concerns regarding the misidentification of speech sound disorders in multilingual children. To address this concern, this study offers an opportunity to explore JC-English as a model system for better understanding functional speech intelligibility while also extending evidence-based practices to include clients' perspectives. A qualitative research design was employed to gather parent responses using telehealth modalities to describe their children's functional speech intelligibility for JC and English. Parent responses were examined using a modified Grounded Theory approach that incorporated the tenets of a content analysis to ascribe meaning from text. This current study addresses the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) strategic plans regarding improving diagnosis, treatment, and prevention for understudied populations. In addition, this qualitative study explores how to utilize parent report measures such as the Intelligibility in Context Scale (ICS) and the ICS-JC to facilitate descriptive parent responses that can be used to reduce bias and inform our understanding of functional speech for other understudied populations. 

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Category: Community & Cultural Connections