Drawing talking: Listening to children with speech sound disorders

Jane McCormack, Sharynne McLeod, Linda J. Harrison, Erin L. Holliday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Listening to children using age-appropriate techniques supports evidence-based clinical decision-making. In this article, we test the Sound Effects Study Drawing Protocol, an arts-based technique, to support children with speech sound disorder (SSD) to express their views about talking.

Method: Participants were 124 Australian children aged 4–5 years in the Sound Effects Study. Their parents and teachers were concerned about their talking, and they were assessed as having SSD on the Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology. Drawings and children’s interpretations were elicited then analyzed using the (a) Who Am I? Draw-a-Person Scale and (b) Sound Effects Study Focal Points.

Results: Drawings were developmentally typical for 4-to 5-year-olds. The six Sound Effects Study Focal Points were identified across the 124 drawings: body parts and facial expressions, talking and listening, relationships and con-nection, positivity, negativity, and no talking. Participants portrayed talking and listening as an action requiring mouths and ears represented by symbols (let-ters, speech bubbles) or as an activity with a variety of people. Children typically portrayed themselves as happy when talking; however, some portrayed negativity and some chose not to draw talking.

Conclusions: In keeping with Articles 12 and 13 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, this research demonstrated that 4-to 5-year-old children with SSD can express their views about talking via drawing. Professionals may use the Sound Effects Study Drawing Protocol as a child-friendly technique to support children to express views to guide holistic, evidence-based, child-centered speech-language pathology practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-731
Number of pages19
JournalLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 06 Jul 2022

Grant Number

  • DP0773978


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