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J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2012 Aug;55(4):1068-82. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2011/11-0056). Epub 2012 Jan 9.

Functional brain activation differences in school-age children with speech sound errors: speech and print processing.

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Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT, USA.



To examine neural response to spoken and printed language in children with speech sound errors (SSE).


Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to compare processing of auditorily and visually presented words and pseudowords in 17 children with SSE, ages 8;6[years;months] through 10;10, with 17 matched controls.


When processing spoken words and pseudowords, the SSE group showed less activation than typically speaking controls in left middle temporal gyrus. They also showed greater activation than controls in several cortical and subcortical regions (e.g., left superior temporal gyrus, globus pallidus, insula, fusiform, and bilateral parietal regions). In response to printed words and pseudowords, children with SSE had greater activation than controls in regions including bilateral fusiform and anterior cingulate. Some differences were found in both speech and print processing that that may be associated with children with SSE failing to show common patterns of task-induced deactivation and/or attentional resource allocation.


Compared with controls, children with SSE appear to rely more on several dorsal speech perception regions and less on ventral speech perception regions. When processing print, numerous regions were observed to be activated more for the SSE group than for controls.

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