Efficacy of Electropalatography for Treating Misarticulation of /r/

Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2017 Nov 8;26(4):1141-1158. doi: 10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0122.


Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to document the efficacy of electropalatography (EPG) for the treatment of rhotic errors in school-age children. Despite a growing body of literature using EPG for the treatment of speech sound errors, there is little systematic evidence about the relative efficacy of EPG for rhotic errors.

Method: Participants were 5 English-speaking children aged 6;10 to 9;10, who produced /r/ at the word level with < 30% accuracy but otherwise showed typical speech, language, and hearing abilities. Therapy was delivered in twice-weekly 30-min sessions for 8 weeks.

Results: Four out of 5 participants were successful in achieving perceptually and acoustically accurate /r/ productions during within-treatment trials. Two participants demonstrated generalization of /r/ productions to nontreated targets, per blinded listener ratings.

Conclusions: The present findings support the hypothesis that EPG can improve production accuracy in some children with rhotic errors. However, the utility of EPG is likely to remain variable across individuals. For rhotics, EPG training emphasizes one possible tongue configuration consistent with accurate rhotic production (lateral tongue contact). Although some speakers respond well to this cue, the narrow focus may limit lingual exploration of other acceptable tongue shapes known to facilitate rhotic productions.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Articulation Disorders / diagnosis
  • Articulation Disorders / physiopathology
  • Articulation Disorders / psychology
  • Articulation Disorders / therapy*
  • Biofeedback, Psychology* / instrumentation
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Tests
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Phonetics*
  • Speech Acoustics*
  • Speech Perception
  • Speech Production Measurement
  • Speech-Language Pathology / instrumentation
  • Speech-Language Pathology / methods*
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted* / instrumentation
  • Time Factors
  • Tongue / physiopathology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Perception