Intervention for residual speech errors in adolescents and adults: A systematised review

Rebecca Shields, Suzanne C. Hopf

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


When speech sound errors persist beyond childhood they are classified as residual speech errors (RSE) and may have detrimental impacts on an individual’s social, educational and employment participation. Despite this, individuals who present with RSE are usually not prioritised on large caseloads. The aim of this literature review was to examine what intervention approaches are available in remediating RSE, and how effective are they for adolescents and adults? A systematised review was undertaken. Comprehensive and systematic searching included search of terms across seven databases, forward and reverse citation searching, and key author contact. Thirty articles underwent critical appraisal before data extraction. Inductive thematic analysis was done before completion of a narrative review. Twenty-three (76.6%) of the articles were from the US and most studies involved intervention for ‘r’ (90%). Intervention approaches for RSE involved traditional articulation therapy, auditory perceptual training, instrumental approaches, and approaches based on principles of motor learning. Twenty-one studies (70%) investigated the use of more than one intervention approach. Measures of intervention efficacy varied between studies; however, any intervention approach tended to be more successful if delivered in a more intensive schedule. A variety of approaches can be used for RSE, but a combination of high intensity, traditional therapy with adjunctive instrumental biofeedback may be most effective, especially with highly motivated individuals. Unfortunately, this usually requires costly equipment and training to implement. More information about the best dosage and intensity intervention for RSE, evaluated for a larger number of phonemes across other languages and dialects is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-226
Number of pages24
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number3
Early online date22 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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