The Feasibility of Cross-Linguistic Speech Evaluation in the Care of International Cleft Palate Patients

Jenna R. Stoehr, Eugene Park, Narainsai K. Reddy, Karen Rychlik, Bharat Raj, Arun K. Gosain*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many patients with cleft palate in developing countries never receive postoperative speech assessment or therapy. The use of audiovisual recordings could improve access to post-repair speech care. The present study evaluated whether English-speaking speech-language pathologists (SLPs) could assess cleft palate patients speaking an unfamiliar language (Tamil) using recorded media. Recordings obtained from Tamil-speaking participants were rated by 1 Tamil-speaking SLP and 3 English-speaking SLPs. Ratings were analyzed for inter-rater reliability and scored for percent correct. Accuracy of the English SLPs was compared with independent t tests and Analysis of Variance. Sixteen participants (mean age 14.5 years, standard deviation [SD] 7.4 years; mean age of surgery of 2.7 years, SD 3.7 years; time since surgery: 10.8 years, SD 5.7 years) were evaluated. Across the 4 SLPs, 5 speech elements were found to have moderate agreement, and the mean kappa was 0.145 (slight agreement). Amongst the English-speaking SLPs, 10 speech elements were found to have substantial or moderate agreement, and the mean kappa was 0.333 (fair agreement). Speech measures with the highest inter-rater reliability were hypernasality and consonant production errors. The average percent correct of the English SLPs was 60.7% (SD 20.2%). English SLPs were more accurate if the participant was female, under eighteen, bilingual, or had speech therapy. The results demonstrate that English SLPs without training in a specific language (Tamil) have limited potential to assess speech elements accurately. This research could guide training interventions to augment the ability of SLPs to conduct cross-linguistic evaluations and improve international cleft care by global health teams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1413-1417
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

Keywords

  • Cleft palate
  • international cleft care
  • speech evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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