The Arizona 4 is an Articulation and Phonology scale used to evaluate and test certain milestones in speech development. It is used to evaluate children aged 18 months to 21 years using three different tests: Word Articulation, Sentence Articulation, and Phonology.
Word Articulation and Sentence Articulation are built to measure proficiency in single words or connected speech while the Phonology test measures phonological impairment based on the results gathered in the Word Articulation test.
In order to score the Arizona 4, values are attributed to sounds in order to evaluate and calculate the scores appropriately. When a sound is misarticulated, it is more difficult to understand the speaker, so the values of sounds are ascribed to the frequency with which they occur in American speech. The more common a sound, the higher its value.
Sounds like consonants, vowels, and diphthongs were included in the sound values, even though these sounds are often spoken incorrectly by both children and adults. By assigning values to these sounds based on their probable occurrence in consecutive speech sounds, scoring is faster and more accurate.
Consonant values are divided into positions including initial and final syllables according to when they occur in those positions. There is no reason to test sounds in positions where they do not occur or if they occur less than five times in 1000 consecutive sounds.
On the contrary, vowel sounds make up almost half of American speech sounds and can interfere with communication more when they are misarticulated over when a consonant is misarticulated. Several r vowel sounds are included because they make up for some of the most common mispronunciations.
However, it’s important to note that these sound values also correspond to the frequency with which they are found in American speech. A child with six misarticulated sounds would be thought to have a communication problem when compared with a child who misarticulated four sounds. But when the frequency with which those four misarticulated sounds are found in American speech is higher, this must be accurately represented by scoring.
Importance of the Concept
The sound values in the Arizona 4 are weighted to give preference to a higher probability of occurrence in speech. Therefore, it can accurately identify articulatory deficits that affect speech intelligibility more often.
The effectiveness of the scoring system is found in being about to identify articulatory disorders based on the weight given to errors in both consonants and vowels. Consonants are misarticulated more often than vowels and are given more weight.
In addition, values are assigned in close relation to sound mastery age and adjusted accordingly. Misarticulation at a young age is common and may not directly correlate to an articulatory disorder if most individuals tend to grow out of it by a certain age the child being tested has not yet reached.
The Arizona 4 creates an accurate depiction of sound mastery by measuring and scoring speech misarticulation according to how often it occurs in American speech, age, and various sound categories. It can identify articulatory disorders and be a reliable indicator that speech therapy may be needed.