Overview The clinical version of PEPS-C is intended for use by clinicians who wish to assess prosody skills in both children and adults. It was developed from the research tool; the clinical version is designed to assist therapists and teachers in remedial intervention.
Ages:The test is suitable for all ages above 4. Normative data:PEPS-C is not standardised, but a limited amount of normative data is available. Time requirement: The complete test takes 40-60 minutes; tasks can also be run individually.
Procedures:PEPS-C is easy to administer but requires some familiarisation. Using a computer, the tester (clinician/teacher) elicits responses through auditory stimuli and pictures presented on the screen. Receptive tasks present an auditory stimulus with two pictures as response options on the computer screen: clients click on one half of the computer screen by way of response. In expressive function tasks, pictures appear on the screen and clients describe what they see: their utterances are scored by the tester on a separate keypad (see below): this ensures that the tester’s judgment of responses is not biased by seeing the stimuli. For imitation tasks, testers evaluate utterances as Good, Fair or Poor: a training programme ensures standardisation of judgments. Stimulus items are culturally inoffensive and easy to pronounce. The pictures included in the test are likely to be familiar to all, including young children, but a pre-test vocabulary check is completed so that tester and client can agree on the words for what is seen in the pictures. Confidentiality is ensured in that the client is assigned an identity code which is all that appears in computer records.
Tasks: PEPS-C comprises twelve tasks, addressing receptive and expressive skills in parallel. The tasks are at two levels, examining prosodic function and prosodic form respectively. The assessment of skills at two levels helps to determine the level at which a client has a problem with prosody, thus enabling better targeting of intervention.
Scoring is automated, ensuring safety from transcription errors and enabling the tester to focus on the client’s performance. The program includes a scoresheet for each client that can be printed out. Individual scores can be compared with data obtained from control clients. Item scores, useful for determining error patterns, are provided in detailed scoresheets in the clinical version. Clients’ responses can be replayed by clinking on links in the individual scoresheets.
Prosodic Functions PEPS-C defines four main linguistic functions conveyed by prosody, with a receptive and an expressive task for each: 1. Turn end: indicating whether an utterance requires an answer or not (question/statement) 2. Affect: indicating mood/emotions/opinions; in this test, signalling liking or reservation with respect to items of food and drink 3. Chunking: prosodic phrase boundaries indicating how speech can be verbally 'chunked', as in the difference between 'fruit, salad and milk' and 'fruit-salad and milk' 4. Contrastive Stress or Focus: emphasising one word in an utterance to focus attention on it, e.g. 'white COW', emphasising ‘cow’ as opposed to 'WHITE cow', emphasising ‘white’.
Prosodic forms These comprise the prosodic variations that convey different meanings: assessment requires non-cognitive skills. The tasks are: - two auditory discrimination tasks, essentially same/different tasks. Stimuli exemplify the used in the receptive prosodic function tasks. - two imitation tasks requiring the production of the types of prosodic variation needed for completing the expressive function tasks.