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Dynamic Assessment of Acquired and Developmental Apraxia of Speech in Children
Edythe A. Strand, Rebecca J. McCauley, and Ruth Stoeckel

A new dynamic assessment tool, the Dynamic Evaluation of Motor Speech Skill (DEMSS) is described. It is designed for assessment of motor speech performance in children with severe speech sound disorders (SSD). Young children with SSD due to difficulties with speech motor control pose difficult diagnostic challenges for the speech pathologist. This is especially true for children suspected of Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) because of controversies regarding behavioral markers. Further, there is a lack of valid and reliable measures for motor speech in children. The few tools that are available provide little data regarding reliability or validity and typically do not measure response to facilitation. The DEMSS is under development to meet the need for a dynamic assessment tool that is valid, reliable, and helpful in differential diagnosis. It utilizes words and phrases that vary in length and phonetic complexity, and uses a multidimensional scoring system reflecting initial speech performance, and performance over different levels of cueing. Initial data regarding reliability and construct validity of the DEMSS are presented for 71 children. Discussion focuses on the need for further tests of validity, and implications for test developers, researchers and clinicians.

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