SuSSD (Supporting and Understanding Speech Sound Disorder) is an online resource that was co-produced with speech and language therapists (clinicians and managers) as part of Natalie Hegarty's PhD project (Hegarty, Titterington, McLeod and Taggart 2018). It is currently managed by Dr Jill Titterington with support from Ulster University’s Creative and Campaign Services.
SuSSD provides speech and language therapists (SLTs) with a clinical decision making tool to support appropriate selection of one of three possible interventions for children with consistent phonological impairment (conventional minimal pairs (Weiner 1981), multiple oppositions (Williams 2000), and the complexity approach (Gierut 1989, Gierut and Champion 2001)).
The rationale for the development of this online resource was driven by findings from an online survey (Hegarty et al. 2018) highlighting the gap between research and practice for SLTs managing children with phonological impairment across the UK. This gap was further investigated in a series of focus groups with SLTs (NHS health service provision) identifying barriers and facilitators to evidence based practice for children with phonological impairment (Hegarty et al. 2020). SLTs reported the need for an online tool to support them with their clinical decision making and which would provide them with step-by-step guidance for intervention protocols (including dosage), and links to resources/materials.
SuSSD was the output of co-production work between the researchers and specialist SLTs experienced in providing intervention for children with phonological impairment (Hegarty et al. 2018). At this stage, three direct approaches to intervention for children with phonological impairment are included in the resource which is undergoing constant review and development.
SuSSD was co-produced with speech and language therapists (clinicians and managers) as part of Natalie Hegarty's doctoral work. Thanks go to all those speech and language therapists who contributed to this work across the five Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland and to experts across the world who provided some feedback on the online resource.