McNeill, B. 1 & Wolter, J. 2
1 University of Canterbury, New Zealand
2 Utah State University
Background: The spelling outcomes of children with isolated speech disorder (i.e. without accompanying language impairment) are variable. Phonological awareness and morphological awareness, two important contributors to spelling development, have been identified as predictors of literacy achievement within this population. However, the contribution of orthographic knowledge, a third aspect of linguistic awareness that is known to influence spelling development, has not been previously examined within this population. This study examined the contribution of phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and orthographic knowledge to word-level literacy development in children with inconsistent speech disorder and their typically developing counterparts. Methodology: 38 children with inconsistent speech disorder (i.e., inconsistent pronunciation errors on repeated productions of the same word) and 48 children with typical development aged 6 to 8 years participated in the study. The following assessment areas were evaluated within the cross-sectional design: non-verbal intelligence, receptive vocabulary, receptive and expressive morphological awareness, orthographic pattern awareness, phonological awareness, nonword reading, word recognition, and spelling (including linguistic analysis of spelling errors). Results: A comparison between the performance of each group in all the measures will be conducted. Regression analysis will be employed to identify whether the three aspects of linguistic awareness (i.e., phonological awareness, morphological awareness, orthographic knowledge) predict unique variance (above and beyond other measures) in the reading and spelling scores the speech disordered and typical groups. Conclusion: The results will be discussed within the multiple deficits model (Pennington et al., 2009) and the general linguistic awareness hypothesis (Apel & Lawrence, 2009). Educational implications will be explored.