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Palatometry intervention in relation to body (structure and function), activity, and participation Derry, Karen Elizabeth

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate outcomes of palatometry therapy for a twenty-two-year-old woman with a bilateral, severe-to-profound hearing loss, a severe speech sound production disorder, and oral musculature weakness. Outcomes addressed levels of functioning at the body, activity, and participation levels (World Health Organization, 1999). At the level of the body, improvement was noted between pre- and posttherapy narrow phonetic transcriptions of speech production, and for pre- and post-therapy palatograms. Specifically, post-therapy palatograms for therapy targets (/g/, /ʃ/, /tʃ/, and /dʒ/) and generalization targets (/s/, /z/, and /k/) showed improved linguapalatal contact patterns compared with pre-therapy palatograms. To obtain a measure of intelligibility (an activity level measure), five listeners who were unfamiliar with disordered speech were asked to complete open- and closed-set word identification tasks and an open-set sentence identification task. Word identification improved for both the open-set and closed-set tasks. An average gain of 34% was noted for word identification in the closed-set task. Identification of target phonemes within the open-set word identification task was worse than within the closed-set word identification task. In addition, each listener orthographically transcribed six sentences. Level of participation (WHO, 1999) was assessed on the basis of responses from questionnaires administered to the speaker and on the basis of listeners' perceptions. Generally, responses from the participant indicated improved selfconfidence but the presence of some participation restrictions related to her hearing impairment. Listeners' perceptions suggested that the speaker would likely encounter more participation restrictions in situations that involved speech as the primary mode of communication compared to situations involving primarily non-oral modes of communication. Overall, the results suggested that palatometry therapy had a positive effect on reduction in speech impairment, on reducing activity limitations, and in improving the participant's self-confidence and self-awareness as a participant within society.

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