Knowing, having, doing: the battles of childhood speech impairment

Jane McCormack*, Lindy McAllister, Sharynne McLeod, Linda Harrison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This study describes the experience of childhood speech impairment (speech sound disorder) from the perspective of two young men and their mothers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the four participants, with questions framed around the International classification of functioning, disability and health (ICF; WHO, 2001) to gain a holistic understanding of life with speech impairment. Phenomenological analysis of the interviews revealed that the experience of speech impairment was associated with three key themes: (1) knowing, (2) having, and (3) doing. A core theme of 'battles' was common to all three themes (i.e. the battle for knowledge, the battle of having speech and associated difficulties, and the battle to do something to minimize the impact of the difficulties); however, the nature of the battles was different for participants, and was related to other life factors. This qualitative research provides valuable insights into the experiences of those living with speech impairment, and shows the importance of considering such information alongside quantitative research when making decisions in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-157
Number of pages17
JournalChild Language Teaching and Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • speech impairment
  • speech sound disorder
  • qualitative research
  • experience
  • International Classification of Functioning
  • Disability and Health (ICF)


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