Collecting a connected speech sample

To collect and record a speech sample that is representative of a child/adult’s everyday conversational speech.

A relaxed, informal setting is preferable.The child/adult needs to feel at ease for an adequate sample to be elicited and recorded.

Eliciting a spontaneous speech sample towards the end of a session is advisable. By this time the child/adult is more relaxed and the Speech Therapist has had time to choose suitable questions and topics to use to elicit the sample.

Length of Sample:
At least 2 minutes time (accumulative) of spontaneous speech should be collected. Connected speech as opposed to single words or very short phrases is preferable. Connected speech ie. long sentences can be elicited by asking open-ended questions or by eliciting a narrative or description. Questions that start ‘Tell me about . . . .’ work well. A verbal description of a composite picture is another good way of obtaining a speech sample. It can be helpful if a child brings a book or toy that they can talk about.

Useful topics are: 
- movie
- family
- friends
- sport
- hobbies

Younger Children:
If a younger child is reluctant to communicate with you initially or if you have not obtained a satisfactory representation of the child’s speech, Jennifer Warner in ‘Speech Therapy : a Clinical Companion,’ suggests using the mother (or father) to elicit the sample. Ask the parent if they would be willing to play and talk to the child whilst you make a recording. For very shy children, the clinician may have to leave the room before the child is willing to speak freely.

Speech therapy:a clinical companion. (1984) Warner, J.A.W., Byers Brown,B., McCartney, University Press