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Viking Speech Scale (VSS)
Availability
Please visit this website for more information about the instrument: Viking Speech Scale.
Classification
Supplemental: Cerebral Palsy (CP)
Short Description of Instrument
The Viking Speech Scale (VSS) was developed to assess childrens’ communication ability for clinical evaluation of children with cerebral palsy (CP) and for clinical and epidemiological research (Virella, 2012). The VSS is for use in children 4 years and above. The scale has four levels of speech intelligibility:
I. Speech is not affected by motor disorder.
II. Speech is imprecise but usually understandable to unfamiliar listeners. Loudness of speech is adequate for one to one conversation. Voice may be breathy or harsh sounding but does not impair intelligibility. Articulation is imprecise; most consonants are produced, but deterioration is noticeable in longer utterances. Although difficulties are noticeable, speech is usually understandable to unfamiliar listeners out of context.
III. Speech is unclear and not usually understandable to unfamiliar listeners out of context. Difficulties controlling breathing for speech – can produce one word per utterance and/or speech is sometimes too loud or too quiet to be understood. Voice may be harsh sounding; pitch may change suddenly. Speech may be markedly hyper nasal. A very small range of consonants are produced. The severity of the difficulties makes the speech difficult to understand out of context.
IV. No understandable speech.
Comments/Special Instructions
The VSS is ordinal. “The is no expectation that the differences between levels are evenly spaced, or that children will be spread evenly across the levels.” (Pennington et al., 2010)
The examiner should score the childrens’ usual speech performance.
Scoring
Scoring: Score to the level (I-IV) at which the child is understandable to strangers and unfamiliar conversation partners.
Score Levels:
I. Speech is not affected by motor disorder.
II. Speech is imprecise but usually understandable to unfamiliar listeners.
III. Speech is unclear and not usually understandable to unfamiliar listeners out of context.
IV. No understandable speech.
Rationale/Justification
Children with cerebral palsy often have speech disorders. The Viking Speech Scale allows 4 categories of a child’s speech.
References
Key References:
Pennington L, Virella D, Mjoen T, da Graca Andrada M, Murray J, Colver A, Himmelmann K, Rackauskaite G, Greitane A, Prasauskiene A, Andersen G, de la Cruz J. Development of The Viking Speech Scale to classify the speech of children with cerebral palsy. Res Dev Disabil. 2013;34(10):3202–3210.
Pennington L, Mjoen T, da Graca Andrada M, Murray J. Viking Speech Scale, 2010. United Kingdom: Newcastle University.
Additional References:
Pennington L. Speech, language, communication, and cerebral palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2016;58:534–535.
Virella D, Pennington L, Andersen GL, Andrada Mda G, Greitane A, Himmelmann K, Prasauskiene A, Rackauskaite G, De La Cruz J, Colver A. Classification systems of communication for use in epidemiological surveillance of children with cerebral palsy. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2016;58(3):285–291.
Virella D. Task 4.2: Harmonisation on Communication/language function: Surveillance of Cerebral Palsy in Europe; 2012 [cited 2016 15 July]. Available from: http://www.scpenetwork.eu/en/about-scpe/scpe-net-project/harmonisation/communication/.
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