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Lehner, Katharina and Ziegler, Wolfram (2022): Clinical measures of communication limitations in dysarthria assessed through crowdsourcing: specificity, sensitivity, and retest-reliability. In: Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, Vol. 36, No. 11: pp. 988-1009

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Assessing the impact of dysarthria on a patient's ability to communicate should be an integral part of patient management. However, due to the high demands on reliable quantification of communication limitations, hardly any formal clinical tests with approved psychometric properties have been developed so far. This study investigates a web-based assessment of communication impairment in dysarthria, named KommPaS. The test comprises measures of intelligibility, naturalness, perceived listener effort and communication efficiency, as well as a total score that integrates these parameters. The approach is characterized by a quasi-random access to a large inventory of test materials and to a large group of naive listeners, recruited via crowdsourcing. As part of a larger research program to establish the clinical applicability of this new approach, the present paper focuses on two psychometric issues, namely specificity and sensitivity (study 1) and retest-reliability (study 2). Study 1: KommPaS was administered to 54 healthy adults and 100 adult persons with dysarthria (PWD). Non-parametric criterion-based norms (specificity: 0.95) were used to derive a standard metric for each of the four component variables, and corresponding sensitivity values for the presence of dysarthria were identified. Overall classification accuracy of the total score was determined using a ROC analysis. The resulting cutscores showed a high accuracy in the separation of PWD from healthy speakers for the naturalness and the total score. Study 2: A sub-group of 20 PWD enrolled in study 1 were administered a second KommPaS examination. ICC analyses revealed good to excellent retest reliabilities for all parameters.

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