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Brain Lang. 2006 Feb;96(2):178-90.

Speech perception and short-term memory deficits in persistent developmental speech disorder.

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  • 1Laryngeal and Speech Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Children with developmental speech disorders may have additional deficits in speech perception and/or short-term memory. To determine whether these are only transient developmental delays that can accompany the disorder in childhood or persist as part of the speech disorder, adults with a persistent familial speech disorder were tested on speech perception and short-term memory. Nine adults with a persistent familial developmental speech disorder without language impairment were compared with 20 controls on tasks requiring the discrimination of fine acoustic cues for word identification and on measures of verbal and nonverbal short-term memory. Significant group differences were found in the slopes of the discrimination curves for first formant transitions for word identification with stop gaps of 40 and 20 ms with effect sizes of 1.60 and 1.56. Significant group differences also occurred on tests of nonverbal rhythm and tonal memory, and verbal short-term memory with effect sizes of 2.38, 1.56, and 1.73. No group differences occurred in the use of stop gap durations for word identification. Because frequency-based speech perception and short-term verbal and nonverbal memory deficits both persisted into adulthood in the speech-impaired adults, these deficits may be involved in the persistence of speech disorders without language impairment.

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