Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research
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Published By American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

1558-9102, 1092-4388
Updated Sunday, 17 October 2021

Diane Bordenave ◽  
Lorraine McCune

Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of the grunt vocalizations to cognitive and expressive language status in children with disabilities. Children with typical development produce communicative grunts at the onset of referential word production and comprehension at 14–16 months of age and continue to use this vocalization for communication as they develop language. Method All grunt vocalizations produced by 26 children with disabilities (mental age: 3–56 months; communicative age: 47–69 months) were identified from video-recorded seminaturalistic play sessions. Grunts were identified as accompanying effort or attention or as communicative bids. Participants were grouped as prelinguistic, emergent, language delay, and language competent based on standardized assessments of cognitive and language level. The Mann–Whitney U test (1947) compared groups to determine the relationships between grunt production and cognitive and language status. Results As hypothesized, participants in the language delay group produced significantly more communicative grunts than those in the language competent group ( W = 39, p = .028 < .05). The children with a cognitive and language level lower than 9 months (prelinguistic group) failed to produce communicative grunts. Conclusions The results document grunt production in children with disabilities in the same contexts as typical children and support the hypothesized relationship between assessed cognition and language and communicative grunt production. These results require replication. This vocalization, if recognized in treatment, may unlock verbal communication in many nonverbal children with disabilities. Future longitudinal research should include controlled intervention to determine the potential effectiveness of building broader communicative skills on this simple vocalization.

Katherine R. Gordon ◽  
Holly L. Storkel ◽  
Stephanie Uglow ◽  
Nancy B. Ohlmann

Purpose Learning novel words, including the specific phonemes that make up word forms, is a struggle for many individuals with developmental language disorder (DLD). Building robust representations of words includes encoding during periods of input and consolidation between periods of input. The primary purpose of the current study is to determine differences between children with DLD and with typical development (TD) in the encoding and consolidation of word forms during the slow mapping process. Method Preschool-age children (DLD = 9, TD = 9) were trained on nine form–referent pairs across multiple consecutive training days. Children's ability to name referents at the end of training days indicated their ability to encode forms. Children's ability to name referents at the beginning of training days after a period of overnight sleep indicated their ability to consolidate forms. Word learning was assessed 1 month after training to determine long-term retention of forms. Results Throughout training, children with DLD produced fewer forms correctly and produced forms with less phonological precision than children with TD. Thus, children with DLD demonstrated impaired encoding. However, children with and without DLD demonstrated a similar ability to consolidate forms between training days and to retain forms across a 1-month delay. Conclusions Difficulties with word form learning are primarily driven by deficits in encoding for children with DLD. Clinicians and educators can support encoding by providing children with adequate exposures to target words via robust training that occurs across multiple sessions. Supplemental Material

Nicole E. Corbin ◽  
Emily Buss ◽  
Lori J. Leibold

Purpose The purpose of this study was to characterize spatial hearing abilities of children with longstanding unilateral hearing loss (UHL). UHL was expected to negatively impact children's sound source localization and masked speech recognition, particularly when the target and masker were separated in space. Spatial release from masking (SRM) in the presence of a two-talker speech masker was expected to predict functional auditory performance as assessed by parent report. Method Participants were 5- to 14-year-olds with sensorineural or mixed UHL, age-matched children with normal hearing (NH), and adults with NH. Sound source localization was assessed on the horizontal plane (−90° to 90°), with noise that was either all-pass, low-pass, high-pass, or an unpredictable mixture. Speech recognition thresholds were measured in the sound field for sentences presented in two-talker speech or speech-shaped noise. Target speech was always presented from 0°; the masker was either colocated with the target or spatially separated at ±90°. Parents of children with UHL rated their children's functional auditory performance in everyday environments via questionnaire. Results Sound source localization was poorer for children with UHL than those with NH. Children with UHL also derived less SRM than those with NH, with increased masking for some conditions. Effects of UHL were larger in the two-talker than the noise masker, and SRM in two-talker speech increased with age for both groups of children. Children with UHL whose parents reported greater functional difficulties achieved less SRM when either masker was on the side of the better-hearing ear. Conclusions Children with UHL are clearly at a disadvantage compared with children with NH for both sound source localization and masked speech recognition with spatial separation. Parents' report of their children's real-world communication abilities suggests that spatial hearing plays an important role in outcomes for children with UHL.

Alexandra P. Key ◽  
Kathryn D'Ambrose Slaboch

Purpose Investigations into the nature of communication disorders in autistic individuals increasingly evaluate neural responses to speech stimuli. This integrative review aimed to consolidate the available data related to speech and language processing across levels of stimulus complexity (from single speech sounds to sentences) and to relate it to the current theories of autism. Method An electronic database search identified peer-reviewed articles using event-related potentials or magnetoencephalography to investigate auditory processing from single speech sounds to sentences in autistic children and adults varying in language and cognitive abilities. Results Atypical neural responses in autistic persons became more prominent with increasing stimulus and task complexity. Compared with their typically developing peers, autistic individuals demonstrated mostly intact sensory responses to single speech sounds, diminished spontaneous attentional orienting to spoken stimuli, specific difficulties with categorical speech sound discrimination, and reduced processing of semantic content. Atypical neural responses were more often observed in younger autistic participants and in those with concomitant language disorders. Conclusions The observed differences in neural responses to speech stimuli suggest that communication difficulties in autistic individuals are more consistent with the reduced social interest than the auditory dysfunction explanation. Current limitations and future directions for research are also discussed.

Fei Chen ◽  
Gang Peng

Purpose Previous studies have shown enhanced pitch and impaired time perception in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, it remains unclear whether such deviated patterns of auditory processing depending on acoustic dimensions would transfer to the higher level linguistic pitch and time processing. In this study, we compared the categorical perception (CP) of lexical tones and voice onset time (VOT) in Mandarin Chinese, which utilize pitch and time changes, respectively, to convey phonemic contrasts. Method The data were collected from 22 Mandarin-speaking adolescents with ASD and 20 age-matched neurotypical controls. In addition to the identification and discrimination tasks to test CP performance, all the participants were evaluated with their language ability and phonological working memory. Linear mixed-effects models were constructed to evaluate the identification and discrimination scores across different groups and conditions. Results The basic CP pattern of cross-boundary benefit when perceiving both native lexical tones and VOT was largely preserved in high-functioning adolescents with ASD. The degree of CP of lexical tones in ASD was similar to that in typical controls, whereas the degree of CP of VOT in ASD was greatly reduced. Furthermore, the degree of CP of lexical tones correlated with language ability and digit span in ASD participants. Conclusions These findings suggest that the unbalanced acoustic processing capacities for pitch and time can be generalized to the higher level linguistic processing in ASD. Furthermore, the higher degree of CP of lexical tones correlated with better language ability in Mandarin-speaking individuals with ASD.

Brielle C. Stark ◽  
Manaswita Dutta ◽  
Laura L. Murray ◽  
Davida Fromm ◽  
Lucy Bryant ◽  

Purpose Spoken discourse analysis is commonly employed in the assessment and treatment of people living with aphasia, yet there is no standardization in assessment, analysis, or reporting procedures, thereby precluding comparison/meta-analyses of data and hindering replication of findings. An important first step is to identify current practices in collecting and analyzing spoken discourse in aphasia. Thus, this study surveyed current practices, with the goal of working toward standardizing spoken discourse assessment first in research settings with subsequent implementation into clinical settings. Method A mixed-methods (quantitative and qualitative) survey was publicized to researchers and clinicians around the globe who have collected and/or analyzed spoken discourse data in aphasia. The survey data were collected between September and November 2019. Results Of the 201 individuals who consented to participate, 189 completed all mandatory questions in the survey (with fewer completing nonmandatory response questions). The majority of respondents reported barriers to utilizing discourse including transcription, coding, and analysis. The most common barrier was time (e.g., lack of time). Respondents also indicated that there was a lack of, and a need for, psychometric properties and normative data for spoken discourse use in the assessment and treatment of persons with aphasia. Quantitative and qualitative results are described in detail. Conclusions The current survey study evaluated spoken discourse methods in aphasia across research and clinical settings. Findings from this study will be used to guide development of process standardization in spoken discourse and for the creation of a psychometric and normative property database. Supplemental Material

Kathryn Crowe ◽  
Sisan Cuervo ◽  
Mark Guiberson ◽  
Karla N. Washington

Purpose There is a shortage of information on evidence-based interventions for supporting young multilingual children. The purpose of this review was to identify interventions that have been evaluated with preschool-age multilingual children with a speech and/or language disorder or who are at risk of poor speech, language, literacy, and/or educational outcomes. Method This review considered speech, language, and early literacy interventions evaluated with preschool-age multilingual children with a speech and/or language disorder or who have been identified as being at risk of language difficulties (PROSPERO ID: 165892). The following electronic databases were searched: EBSCO (CINAHL Plus, ERIC, PsycINFO, Medline, Education) and Linguistics, Language, and Behavior Abstracts. Data were extracted describing article, participant, methodological, and intervention variables, and effect sizes. The Council for Exceptional Children's (CEC) standards for evidence-based practice were used to examine the quality of studies. Results Fifty-six relevant studies were identified in 52 articles and these studies described 4,551 participants who had speech sound disorder (six articles), developmental language disorder (11 articles), or were considered to be at risk (36 articles). The interventions targeted speech production (seven studies), language (45 studies), and early literacy (11 studies) skills. Most studies reported positive effects. Only 15 studies met all quality indicators specified by the CEC (2014) and these described 18 interventions targeting language and literacy skills. The only intervention with sufficient evidence to be considered an evidence-based practice was Nuestros Niños [Our Children] for children's early literacy and phonological awareness skills. Conclusions A number of high-quality studies exist that describe speech, language and/or literacy interventions for preschool-age multilingual children with a speech and/or language disorder, or who have been identified as being at risk of language difficulties. However, there remains limited evidence for specific interventions as to their ability to inform evidence-based practices. Supplemental Material

Changxin Zhang ◽  
Mingying Li ◽  
Jie Yu ◽  
Chang Liu

Purpose Depicting the development pattern of vowel perception for children with normal hearing (NH) and cochlear implants (CIs) would be useful for clinicians and school teachers to monitor children's auditory rehabilitation. The study was to investigate the development of Mandarin Chinese vowel perception for Mandarin Chinese native–speaking children with the ages of 4–6 years. Method Vowel identification of children with NH and CIs were tested. All children with CIs received CIs before the age of 4 years. In a picture identification task with Mandarin Chinese speech stimuli, listeners identified the target consonant–vowel word among two to four contrastive words that differed only in vowels. Each target word represented a concrete object and was spoken by a young female native Mandarin Chinese talker. The target words included 16 monophthongs, 22 diphthongs, and nine triphthongs. Results Children with NH showed significantly better identification of monophthongs and diphthongs than children with CIs at the age of 6 years, whereas the two groups had comparable performance at age of 4 and 5 years. Children with NH significantly outperformed children with CIs for triphthong identification across all three age groups. For children with NH, a rapid development of perception of all three types of vowels occurred between age 4 and 5 years with a rapid development only for monophthong perception between age 5 and 6 years. For children with CIs, a rapid development of both diphthong and triphthong perception occurred between 4 and 5 years old, but not monophthong, with no significant development between 5 and 6 years old for all three types of vowels. Overall, Mandarin-speaking children with NH achieved their ceiling performance in vowel perception before or at the age of 6 years, whereas children with CIs may need more time to reach the typical level of their peers with NH. Conclusions The development of Mandarin vowel perception for Mandarin-native children differed between preschool-age children with NH and CIs, likely due to the deficits of spectral processing for children with CIs. The results would be a supplement to the development of speech recognition in Mandarin-native children with NH and CIs.

Victoria Stenbäck ◽  
Erik Marsja ◽  
Mathias Hällgren ◽  
Björn Lyxell ◽  
Birgitta Larsby

Purpose The study aimed to investigate the relationship between speech recognition in noise, age, hearing ability, self-rated listening effort, inhibitory control (measured with the Swedish Hayling task), and working memory capacity (WMC; measured with the Reading Span test). Two different speech materials were used: the Hagerman test with low semantic context and Hearing in Noise Test sentences with high semantic context, masked with either energetic or informational maskers. Method A mixed design was used. Twenty-four young normally hearing ( M age = 25.6 years) and 24 older, for their age, normally hearing individuals ( M age = 60.6 years) participated in the study. Speech recognition in noise in both speech materials and self-rated effort in all four background maskers were correlated with inhibitory control and WMC. A linear mixed-effects model was set up to assess differences between the two different speech materials, the four different maskers used in the study, and if age and hearing ability affected performance in the speech materials or the various background noises. Results Results showed that high WMC was related to lower scores of self-rated listening effort for informational maskers, as well as better performance in speech recognition in noise when informational maskers were used. The linear mixed-effects model revealed differences in performance between the low-context and the high-context speech materials, and the various maskers used. Lastly, inhibitory control had some impact on performance in the low-context speech material when masked with an informational masker. Conclusion Different background noises, especially informational maskers, affect speech recognition and self-rated listening effort differently depending on age, hearing ability, and individual variation in WMC and inhibitory control.

Yu-Yu Hsiao ◽  
Cathy Huaqing Qi ◽  
Robert Hoy ◽  
Philip S. Dale ◽  
Glenda S. Stump ◽  

Purpose This study examined the psychometric properties of the Preschool Language Scales–Fifth Edition (PLS-5 English) among preschool children from low–socioeconomic status (SES) families. Method The PLS-5 was administered individually to 169 3- to 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start programs. We carried out a Mokken scale analysis (MSA), which is a nonparametric item response theory analysis, to examine the hierarchy among items and the reliability of test scores of the PLS-5 Auditory Comprehension (AC) and Expressive Communication (EC) scales. Results The PLS-5 EC items retained a moderate Mokken scale with the inclusion of all the items. On the other hand, the PLS-5 AC items formed a moderate Mokken scale only with the exclusion of five unscalable items. The latent class reliability coefficients for the AC and the EC scale scores were both above .90. Several items that violated the invariant item ordering assumption were found for both scales. Conclusions MSA can be used to examine the relationship between the latent language ability and the probability of passing an item with ordinal responses. Results indicate that for preschool children from low-SES families, it is appropriate to use the PLS-5 EC scale scores for comparing individuals' expressive language abilities; however, researchers and speech-language pathologists should be cautious when using the PLS-5 AC scale scores to evaluate individuals' receptive language abilities. Other implications of the MSA results are further discussed.

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