Dynamic Evaluation of Motor Speech Skill (DEMSS) Manual

Authors: Edythe A. Strand Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Rebecca J. McCauley Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Format: Paperback, 112 pages, 7.0 x 10.0
ISBN: 9781681253091
Price: $149.95

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When a young child has a severe speech sound disorder—especially one severe enough to affect the child's intelligibility—it's critical to determine the degree to which motor speech impairment contributes to the disorder. Now there's a psychometrically well-supported tool that helps speech-language pathologists do just that.

Dynamic Evaluation of Motor Speech Skill (DEMSS) is a criterion-referenced assessment designed to help with differential diagnosis of speech sound disorders in children with severely impaired speech production. Developed by one of the leading experts on childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) and an expert on test development, this tool is an efficient way to assess children who have significant speech impairment, especially reduced phonemic and/or phonetic inventories, vowel or prosodic errors, poor speech intelligibility, and/or little to no verbal communication.

  • Diagnose severe speech sound disorders in children 3 and older
  • Facilitate, confirm, or rule out a diagnosis of CAS
  • Estimate the severity of a child's disorder and what their prognosis might be
  • Inform the development of treatment goals
  • Make decisions about the most effective methods of cueing during treatment
How It Works

DEMSS is a dynamic assessment administered by SLPs in a clinical setting, usually in about 30 minutes or less. The child is tested on production of 60 utterances, divided into eight grouped sets according to syllable structure. For each item on the DEMSS, the SLP provides a verbal model, asks the child for a direct imitation, and follows up with more cues and supports if the child's first attempt is incorrect.

Scoring takes into account overall accuracy in producing the word, vowel accuracy, consistency of production, and accuracy of prosodic features of the word. After administering DEMSS and determining results, SLPs can schedule a follow-up meeting with the child's parents to share results and make recommendations.

Clear and comprehensive guidance is available to DEMSS users. The manual walks SLPs through every step of test administration and scoring, as well as interpretation. The accompanying video tutorial gives users a helpful overview of DEMSS and guides them through two administrations of the entire tool with two different patients: one with mild CAS and one with more severe CAS.

Purchase the DEMSS manual and get everything you need! The manual includes a keycode that unlocks access to the video tutorial and free unlimited DEMSS forms, downloadable online.


Review by: A. Lynn Williams, Associate Dean and Professor at East Tennessee State University
“DEMSS is an assessment tool that is a ‘must have’ in the toolbox of every clinician and researcher who works with children with CAS! There's no other standardized test that combines a comprehensive assessment across a number of parameters associated with CAS, that's based on a strong theoretical framework, and has both test validity and reliability. I recommend it highly!”
Review by: Dave Hammer, VP of Programs at Apraxia Kids
“I am thrilled that the DEMSS is now available to provide the SLP with a dynamic and formalized way of assessing a child's response to cues during motor speech testing. The DEMSS…is certain to become what many of us have longed for—a gold standard in childhood motor speech testing.”

Table of Contents

About the Online Materials
About the Authors

Chapter 1: Overview of the Dynamic Evaluation of Motor Speech Skill (DEMSS)
  • Introduction
  • Intended Purpose of the DEMSS
  • Rationale
  • The Role of the DEMSS in Differential Diagnosis
  • The Role of the DEMSS in a Comprehensive Assessment Battery
  • Benefits of Dynamic Assessment
    • Observations of Speech Characteristics
    • Severity and Prognosis
    • Treatment Planning
  • Target Population
  • Description of Content
  • Judgments
  • Materials
  • Administration Time
  • Basic Procedure
  • User Qualifications
  • User Responsibilities
Chapter 2: Administering and Scoring the DEMSS
  • General Comments on Administration
    • Prior Information to Gather Before Administering the DEMSS
    • Setting Up the Environment Before Administering the DEMSS
    • If the Child Has Significant Difficulty
  • Basic Rules for Scoring
    • Vowel Accuracy
    • Prosodic Accuracy
    • Overall Articulatory Accuracy
    • Consistency
    • Why Score Vowel Accuracy, Prosodic Accuracy, Overall
      • Articulatory Accuracy, and Consistency?
      • Types of Scores
      • Differences in the Numbers of Items Contributing to Each Score
  • Specific Scoring Timing and Instructions
    • Specific Scoring After the First Attempt
    • Prosodic Accuracy Scoring
    • Scoring Instructions After All Cueing
    • Missing Data
  • Cueing Hierarchy
    • Suggested Hierarchy of Cues
    • Types of Cueing Not Allowed During the DEMSS
  • Scoring Examples
Chapter 3: Interpreting the DEMSS
  • Interpreting DEMSS Results in the Context of a Comprehensive Battery
    • Relative Contributions of Different Skill Areas to Performance
    • Impact of the Childs Chronic Communication Problems
  • Using the DEMSS Score to Make Diagnostic Decisions Regarding
    • Childhood Apraxia of Speech
  • Using Other Observations of Speech Characteristics Associated
    • With Childhood Apraxia of Speech to Facilitate Diagnosis
  • Diagnostic Statements
  • Case Examples
    • Severe Childhood Apraxia of Speech Case 1
    • Severe Childhood Apraxia of Speech Case 2
    • Childhood Apraxia of Speech and Phonologic Impairment
    • Marked Phonologic Impairment With Mild Childhood Apraxia of Speech
  • Using DEMSS Data for Treatment Planning
    • Setting Goals
    • Examples of Goals
  • Talking With Parents About Diagnosis
  • Use of the DEMSS Response Form
  • Examples of Test Interpretation
    • Case Example 1: DEMSS Tutorial Video 1
    • Case Example 2: DEMSS Tutorial Video 2
Chapter 4: Development of and Research on the DEMSS
  • Brief History of the Development of the DEMSS
  • Research on the DEMSS
    • Validity and Diagnostic Accuracy
    • More Background Information on Reliability and Validity
    • Participants
    • Testers (Judges) in This Research
  • Reliability Studies
    • Method
    • Results
    • Summary
  • Validity Studies
    • Content Validation
    • Construct Validation
  • Conclusion
Appendix A: Dynamic Evaluation of Motor Speech Skill Response Form

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