The Sound Effects Study is a project funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and conducted by researchers from Charles Sturt University to investigate speech impairment in children.

The project incorporates screening and comprehensive speech and language assessments of 4- to 5- year-old children, as well as interviews with these children, their families and teachers.

The goals of this project include:

  • Investigating the prevalence of speech impairment in Australian preschool children and associated risk factors for developing speech impairment
  • Examining the impact of having a speech impairment on children's social, behavioural and academic skills
  • Investigating the services that are available to Australian preschool children with speech impairment and their families, and issues associated with accessing these services

The project's aims and concepts are uniquely interdisciplinary, drawing on both health and education equally. Furthermore, this is the first research, nationally or internationally to describe children with speech impairment in a holistic manner by drawing on the frameworks of the ICF (WHO, 2001). It will be used to develop a model of appropriate holistic services for children with speech impairment, and to advocate for services for these children so that their full potential can be realised.


World Health Organization (2001). International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Geneva: World Health Organization.


The research team would like to thank the following people for their support of this project:

  • Professor Sue Thomas
    Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Head of the Centre for Research and Graduate Training (CRGT).
  • Professor Toni Downes

    Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Education

  • Associate Professor Ninetta Santoro
    Head of the School of Teacher Education
  • Associate Professor Julia Coyle
    Head of the School of Community Health
  • Professor Tom Lowrie
    Director of the Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE)
  • Anne Madden
    General Manager of Harcourt Assessments (now Pearson Clinical and Talent Assessments)

The research team also thanks the following people for their assistance with collection and analysis of data for this project:

  • Emma Heinrich, Hannah Wilkin, Christine Porter and Jacqui Barr