Outcome measures for children with speech sound disorder : an umbrella review

Harding, Samantha and Burr, Samantha and Cleland, Joanne and Stringer, Helen and Wren, Yvonne (2024) Outcome measures for children with speech sound disorder : an umbrella review. BMJ Open, 14 (4). e081446. ISSN 2044-6055 (https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2023-081446)

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Objective: Speech sound disorder (SSD) describes a ‘persistent difficulty with speech sound production that interferes with speech intelligibility or prevents verbal communication’. There is a need to establish which care pathways are most effective and efficient for children with SSD. Comparison of care pathways requires clearly defined, evidence-based, interventions and agreement on how to measure the outcomes. At present, no definitive list of assessments, interventions or outcomes exists. The objective of this umbrella review paper is to provide a rigorous and detailed list of assessments, interventions and outcomes which target SSD in children. Design: In December 2022, a systematic search of Ovid Medline, OVID Embase, CINAHL, PsycInfo and Cochrane and a number of grey literature platforms were undertaken. 18 reviews were included, and subsequently 415 primary research articles were assessed for data related to assessments, interventions or outcomes. The AMSTAR (Assessing the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews) framework was used to assess the quality of the retained reviews. Setting: Reviews were retained which took place in any setting. Participants: The population is children of any age with a diagnosis of SSD of unknown origin. Primary and secondary outcome measures: Reviews reporting outcomes, assessment and interventions for children with SSD. Results: Extraction and analysis identified 37 assessments, 46 interventions and 30 outcome measures used in research reporting of SSD. Not all of the listed outcomes were linked to specific outcome measurement tools, but these were measurable through the use of one or more of the assessments extracted from the retained reviews. Conclusions: The findings of this review will be used to develop a Core Outcome Set for children with SSD. The findings are part of a rigorous process essential for advancing healthcare research and practice in the specific area of speech and language therapy for children with SSD. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42022316284.