Sound Start Study: Dummies, bottles and thumb sucking in preschool children with speech sound disorders

Elise Baker, Sharynne McLeod, Sarah Masso, Yvonne Wren

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Researchers have suggested that extended use of pacifiers/dummies, bottles and thumb/finger sucking may have a negative impact on children’s speech acquisition (e.g.,Barbosa et al., 2009). The purpose of this study was to describe the oral sucking habits of Australian-English speaking 4- to 5-year-old children identified with phonologically-based speech sound disorders. Participants were 95 children from the Sound Start Study (stage 3, years 1 and2). Based on parent-completed questionnaires, 60% of the children had used apacifier/dummy, and 82% had used a bottle. The majority of the participants had beenbreastfed (83%), with 32 children being breastfed for more than 9-months. Few children (10%) had a history of thumb/finger sucking, with 6% still sucking their thumb by 4-years old.The majority (90%) of participants had not experienced any reported drinking orfeeding difficulties in early childhood. Across the sample, 9.5% had an interdental lisp inaddition to phonologically-based errors. Of this 9.5%, 4 children had used adummy/pacifier and 6 had used a bottle.The relationship between an interdental lisp and prolonged pacifier/dummy and/or bottle use in children with typically developing speech, children with articulation-only difficulties and children with phonological difficulties requires further investigation.


ConferenceSpeech Pathology Australia National Conference
Abbreviated titleChallenge, Broaden, Revolutionise
Internet address


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