One important type of speech sound disorders is articulation and phonological disorders that affect children of age between 2-8 years. All normally developing children follow a unique developmental timetable, table 1 in which they acquire articulation and phonological skills to correctly pronounce both consonants and vowels to make the sound patterns of their respective language. Previous statistics, table 2 show that the number of Arab children, in the age group 2-8 years, who suffer from articulation and phonological disorders, is significant. To be able to test, assess, and evaluate the effect of therapy on these disorders, there is need to conduct research and development that would culminate in the availability of speedy, versatile and interesting computerized tools for use by Speech and Language Therapist, SLPs in standardized test, assessment, and evaluation of articulation and phonology disorders among the children, figure 1. There are prerequisites to the development of these tools such as the development of a suitable phonetic and phonological vocabulary (see table 3) of Modern Standard Arabic, MSA that is spoken by such children and which will meet the test and assessment requirements for speech disorders. The vocabulary could then be used to create a speech corpus for children with normal speech who are in the same age group as the children with disordered speech. Such speech corpus could then be used as a frame of reference to set the standards and norms for children speech. The standards and norms can be used by SLPs to compare normal children against children suspected of having the disorder. The speech corpus could also be used by researchers to develop limited vocabulary, speaker-independent phonetic speech recognizers that would help SLPs during speech therapy and evaluation. To meet the ultimate goal of finally producing efficient and versatile computerized tools to assist SLPs in their mundane tasks of handling articulation and phonological deficits among children in an efficient manner, we envisage a project with the following objectives in mind: 1) develop a comprehensive articulation and phonology vocabulary that represent all the sounds of MSA spoken by the children in all their important articulation and phonological contexts, and 2) use the vocabulary to create a norm speech corpus that represent the articulation of all sounds for children with healthy speech production. The corpus should include significant quantities of speaker-dependent data for a significant number of children with normal speech and would be segmented, labeled and transcribed according to the standards used for such tasks. The development of test and assessment vocabulary and the creation of the speech corpus from such vocabulary are the prerequisites for any investigation on articulation and phonology disorders. Firstly they would help the research community to study the disorders and secondly, after the development of suitable computerized tools, they assist the SLPs to test, assess, and evaluate the effect of treatment for articulation and phonological disorders among children. In this article, we present the status of the research and outline a roadmap to achieve our objectives and ultimate goal.


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