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J Commun Disord. 2005 Jan-Feb;38(1):29-63.

The role of early language experience in the development of speech perception and phonological processing abilities: evidence from 5-year-olds with histories of otitis media with effusion and low socioeconomic status.

Author information

1
Boys Town National Research Hospital, 555 North 30th Street, Omaha, NE, USA. nittrouer@cpd2.usu.edu

Abstract

This study tested the hypothesis that early language experience facilitates the development of language-specific perceptual weighting strategies believed to be critical for accessing phonetic structure. In turn, that structure allows for efficient storage and retrieval of words in verbal working memory, which is necessary for sentence comprehension. Participants were forty-nine 5-year-olds, evenly distributed among four groups: those with chronic otitis media with effusion (OME), low socio-economic status (low-SES), both conditions (both), or neither condition (control). All children participated in tasks of speech perception and phonological awareness. Children in the control and OME groups participated in additional tasks examining verbal working memory, sentence comprehension, and temporal processing. The temporal-processing task tested the hypothesis that any deficits observed on the language-related tasks could be explained by temporal-processing deficits. Children in the three experimental groups demonstrated similar results to each other, but different from the control group for speech perception and phonological awareness. Children in the OME group differed from those in the control group on tasks involving verbal working memory and sentence comprehension, but not temporal processing. Overall these results supported the major hypothesis explored, but failed to support the hypothesis that language problems are explained to any extent by temporal-processing problems.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

As a result of this activity, the participant will be able to (1) Explain the relation between language experience and the development of mature speech perception strategies, phonological awareness, verbal working memory, and syntactic comprehension. (2) Name at least three populations of individuals who exhibit delays in the development of mature speech perception strategies, phonological awareness, verbal working memory, and syntactic comprehension, and explain why these delays exist for each group. (3) Point out why perceptual strategies for speech are different for different languages. (4) Describe Baddeley's model [A.D. Baddeley, The development of the concept of working memory: implications and contributions of neuropsychology, in: G. Vallar, T. Shallice (Eds.), Neuropsychological Impairments of Short-term Memory, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1990, p. 54] of verbal working memory.

PMID:
15475013
DOI:
10.1016/j.jcomdis.2004.03.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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