Implementation fidelity of a computer-assisted intervention for children with speech sound disorders

Jane McCormack, Elise Baker, Sarah Masso, Kathryn Crowe, Sharynne McLeod, Yvonne Wren, Sue Roulstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
538 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Implementation fidelity refers to the degree to which an intervention or programme adheres to its original design. This paper examines implementation fidelity in the Sound Start Study, a clustered randomised controlled trial of computer-assisted support for children with speech sound disorders (SSD).

METHOD: Sixty-three children with SSD in 19 early childhood centres received computer-assisted support (Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter [PFSS] - Australian version). Educators facilitated the delivery of PFSS targeting phonological error patterns identified by a speech-language pathologist. Implementation data were gathered via (1) the computer software, which recorded when and how much intervention was completed over 9 weeks; (2) educators' records of practice sessions; and (3) scoring of fidelity (intervention procedure, competence and quality of delivery) from videos of intervention sessions.

RESULT: Less than one-third of children received the prescribed number of days of intervention, while approximately one-half participated in the prescribed number of intervention plays. Computer data differed from educators' data for total number of days and plays in which children participated; the degree of match was lower as data became more specific. Fidelity to intervention procedures, competency and quality of delivery was high.

CONCLUSION: Implementation fidelity may impact intervention outcomes and so needs to be measured in intervention research; however, the way in which it is measured may impact on data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-276
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number3
Early online date29 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Special issue: Selected papers from the 2016 Speech Pathology Australia National Conference, Guest Edited by Anne Whitworth and Mary Claessen


  • speech sound disorders
  • intervention
  • implementation fidelity
  • service delivery


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