Dworkin (1979) states that, of the 2.5 million children and young adults in the United States with a communication problem, 60% have a functional articulation disorder for which no psychologic or physical problem can be found. The oral mechanism examination is an established part of a speech and language examination for testing these children, and the tongue is the most important organ for speech (Johnson, Darley, and Spriestersbach, 1963). However, no conclusive rationale for the procedure or objective lingual measurements have been established. This research, therefore, was designed as a pilot study to investigate whether lingual structure and function are linked to articulatory competence.

Twenty-four children from the four-year-old population were selected from Riverside, California preschools as subjects for study. These children had hearing and receptive vocabulary which were within the range of normal limits, as tested by a hearing screening and the revised Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. They were categorized according to articulatory ability· into one of three groups: normal, moderate, or severe. A 30-item protocol was developed, based on the Examination of Tongue subtest from the Dworkin-Culatta Oral Mechanism Examination. For 22 items, literature definitions and available norms were used in scoring each subject as "normal" or "abnormal". For the remaining eight items, which did not have norms reported in the literature, objective data were collected. For example, a strain gauge assembly was constructed to objectively measure lingual strength.

Each child was examined following the protocol developed by this investigator. Results of the examinations were analyzed to determine if any of the tasks were significant between the three articulation groups. One item out of the 30, which tested diadochokinetics using sequential syllables was significant. None of the other 29 items was significant between the three groups. In view of this finding, the null hypothesis was accepted, except in sequential syllable diadochokinetics, indicating that very little relationship exists between lingual structure and function, and articulatory competence. This researcher has, therefore, concluded that performing an oral mechanism examination on all patients presenting articulation disorders is of limited value.

LLU Discipline

Speech Pathology


Speech-Language Pathology


Graduate School

First Advisor

E. Evelyn Britt

Second Advisor

Logan W. Barnard

Third Advisor

Melvin S. Cohen

Fourth Advisor

Charlotte A. Blankenship

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Articulation disorders in children.



Page Count

vi; 58

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


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