Monthly Archives: August 2010

Repeated speech errors: Evidence for learning


Three experiments elicited phonological speech errors using the SLIP procedure to investigate whether there is a tendency for speech errors on specific words to reoccur, and whether this effect can be attributed to implicit learning of an incorrect mapping from lemma to phonology for that word. In Experiment 1, when speakers made a phonological speech error in the study phase of the experiment (e.g. saying “beg pet” in place of “peg bet”) they were over four times as likely to make an error on that same item several minutes later at test. A pseudo-error condition demonstrated that the effect is not simply due to a propensity for speakers to repeat phonological forms, regardless of whether or not they have been made in error. That is, saying “beg pet” correctly at study did not induce speakers to say “beg pet” in error instead of “peg bet” at test. Instead, the effect appeared to be due to learning of the error pathway. Experiment 2 replicated this finding, but also showed that after 48 h, errors made at study were no longer more likely to reoccur. As well as providing constraints on the longevity of the effect, this provides strong evidence that the error reoccurrences observed are not due to item-specific difficulty that leads individual speakers to make habitual mistakes on certain items. Experiment 3 showed that the diminishment of the effect 48 h later is not due to specific extra practice at the task. We discuss how these results fit in with a larger view of language as a dynamic system that is constantly adapting in response to experience.

from Cognition

Sonomax and Solar Ear Brazil sign Term Sheet to develop hearing aids

Sonomax Technologies Inc. (SHH:TSX Venture Exchange) is pleased to announce that it has signed a Term Sheet with Brazil based Solar Ear. Under the terms of the agreement, Sonomax will adapt it’s V4 earmold so that it can be paired with Solar Ear’s BTE (Behind-the-ear) hearing aids and supported by Solar Ear’s unique solar chargers. The hearing aids resulting from the marriage of these leading edge technologies will be for distribution throughout the developing world.


Intervention: Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition®

Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition® was found to have potentially positive effects on comprehension and general literacy achievement for adolescent learners.

from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences

Intervention: Fast ForWord®

Fast ForWord® was found to have no discernible effects on the alphabetics and general literacy achievement domains, and potentially positive effects on the reading fluency and comprehension domains for adolescent learners.

from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences

Intervention: Ladders to Literacy

Ladders to Literacy was found to have potentially negative effects on oral language and no discernible effects on print knowledge, phonological processing, and math for preschool children.

from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences

Reading Arabic isn’t easy

A series of studies published in the prestigious journal Neuropsychology has shown that because of the visual complexity of Arabic orthography, the brain’s right hemisphere is not involved in decoding the text in the first stages of learning to read


First Real-Time MRI of Moving Organs and Joints

Moving MRI images of the heart and other organs are nothing new. However, up until now these were always reconstructed afterwards by combining signals and images from the same cardiac phase acquired during breath-holding into the resulting images. Researchers at the Max Planck in Göttingen have now proven it is possible to acquire images in real-time with up to fifty frames per second…. Linked in the press release is a video of the beating heart and an impressive movie of movements during speech production.


REVIEW: Intervention for mixed receptive–expressive language impairment: a review

Studies indicate that language impairment that cannot be accounted for by factors such as below-average non-verbal ability, hearing impairment, behaviour or emotional problems, or neurological impairments affects some 6% of school-age children. Language impairment with a receptive language component is more resistant to intervention than specific expressive or phonological delays, and carries a greater risk of comorbid behavioural difficulties as well as adverse outcomes for language development and academic progress. This paper considers underlying explanations that may account for receptive–expressive language impairment. It also reviews evidence for the effectiveness of intervention from theory and recent systematic reviews, trials, and speech and language therapy practice.

from Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students’ Experiences in Mainstream and Separate Postsecondary Education

In order to better understand academic achievement among deaf and hard-of-hearing students in different educational placements, an exploratory study examined the experiences of postsecondary students enrolled in mainstream programs (with hearing students) versus separate programs (without hearing students) at the same institution. The Course Experience Questionnaire, the Revised Approaches to Studying Inventory, and the Classroom Participation Questionnaire were utilized to obtain information concerning their perceptions, participation, and access to information in the classroom. Both groups were concerned with good teaching and the acquisition of generic skills. Both were motivated by the demands of their assessments and by a fear of failure while being alert to both positive and negative affect in their classroom interactions. Overall, students in separate classes were more positive about workload expectations, instructor feedback, and the choices they had in coursework. Students in mainstream classes were more positive about their acquisition of analytic skills (rather than rote memorization) and about their instructors’ interest in them, including flexibility in methods of assessment.

from the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Parents’ Views on Changes in Their Child’s Communication and Linguistic and Socioemotional Development After Cochlear Implantation

Our aim was to obtain versatile information on the communication and socioemotional development of implanted children in their everyday environment. We studied 18 children implanted unilaterally at the mean age of 3 years 4 months. All had normal nonverbal intelligence, but 8 (44%) had concomitant problems. Their parents filled out semistructured questionnaires at 6 months and then annually 1–5 years after activation. Parents reported a change from use of signs to speech, and changes in the children’s vocal behavior and spoken language development. They also reported that children had calmed down and showed an increased sense of self-confidence and safety with an expanded social life. The greatest changes started to take place 1 year after implantation. Five years after implantation, two thirds of children were judged to be as independent as their age peers. We conclude that changes in communication pave the way to benefits in psychosocial development after implantation.

from the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Pragmatic Abilities of Children With Hearing Loss Using Cochlear Implants or Hearing Aids Compared to Hearing Children

This study characterized the profile of pragmatic abilities among 24 children with hearing loss (HL) aged 6.3–9.4 years, 13 using hearing aids (HAs) and 11 using cochlear implants (CIs), in comparison to those of 13 hearing children with similar chronological and language ages. All the children with HL used spoken language, attended regular schools, and received communication therapy twice a week. They had no disabilities other than the HL. We assessed pragmatic abilities using the pragmatic protocol of C. A. Prutting & D. M. Kirchner (1987. A clinical appraisal of the pragmatic aspects of language. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 52, 105–119), which includes verbal, nonverbal, and paralinguistic aspects. Findings showed that children with HL used varied pragmatic functions but revealed more incidents of inappropriate use of the different abilities, compared to hearing children. Intergroup differences were significant only for verbal parameters. No differences emerged between children who used CIs vs. HAs. It seems that the CI group had the same pragmatic abilities as severe HA children. The different or less effective pragmatic abilities of children with HL may be explained by less flexible use of language structures, difficulties in theory of mind, difficulties in auditory perception of spoken language, and less exposure to varied pragmatic situations and strategies. Results indicated the need to incorporate pragmatic communication abilities into rehabilitation programs.

from the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Deaf Students and Their Classroom Communication: An Evaluation of Higher Order Categorical Interactions Among School and Background Characteristics

This article investigated to what extent age, use of a cochlear implant, parental hearing status, and use of sign in the home determine language of instruction for profoundly deaf children. Categorical data from 8,325 profoundly deaf students from the 2008 Annual Survey of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children and Youth were analyzed using chi-square automated interaction detector, a stepwise analytic procedure that allows the assessment of higher order interactions among categorical variables. Results indicated that all characteristics were significantly related to classroom communication modality. Although younger and older students demonstrated a different distribution of communication modality, for both younger and older students, cochlear implantation had the greatest effect on differentiating students into communication modalities, yielding greater gains in the speech-only category for implanted students. For all subgroups defined by age and implantation status, the use of sign at home further segregated the sample into communication modality subgroups, reducing the likelihood of speech only and increasing the placement of students into signing classroom settings. Implications for future research in the field of deaf education are discussed.

from the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

How Are They Really Doing? Observation of Inclusionary Classroom Participation for Children With Mild-to-Moderate Deafness

Direct observation was utilized to study how 5 children with mild-to-moderate deafness participated within inclusive classroom settings. Responses to practice and prompt opportunities, levels of prompting required to follow classroom directions, and engagement were analyzed across students with mild-to-moderate deafness and were compared to students with normal hearing. Similar responses to practice and prompt opportunities were observed across students, and engagement data indicated that 4 children with mild-to-moderate deafness had similar rates to their peers. However, children with mild-to-moderate deafness required higher levels of prompting and were less accurate at following classwide verbal prompts. Agreement data on variables ranged between 83% and 99%, with the exception of 2 prompting levels. Social validity judgments indicated that the information was useful and important. Potential uses for data include consultation with teachers regarding interventions to increase student engagement and research regarding inclusionary practices.

from the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

A Genotype-First Approach for the Molecular and Clinical Characterization of Uncommon De Novo Microdeletion of 20q13.33

Based on genotype-phenotype correlation among individuals in this and previous studies, we discuss several possible candidate genes for specific clinical features, including ARFGAP1, CHRNA4 and KCNQ2 and neurodevelopmental deficits. Deletion of this region may play an important role in cognitive development.

from PLoS ONE

A meta-analysis of morphological interventions: effects on literacy achievement of children with literacy difficulties

This study synthesizes 79 standardized mean-change differences between control and treatment groups from 17 independent studies, investigating the effect of morphological interventions on literacy outcomes for students with literacy difficulties. Average total sample size ranged from 15 to 261 from a wide range of grade levels. Overall, morphological instruction showed a significant improvement on literacy achievement ( = 0.33). Specifically, its effect was significant on several literacy outcomes such as phonological awareness ( = 0.49), morphological awareness ( = 0.40), vocabulary ( = 0.40), reading comprehension ( = 0.24), and spelling ( = 0.20). Morphological instruction was particularly effective for children with reading, learning, or speech and language disabilities, English language learners, and struggling readers, suggesting the possibility that morphological instruction can remediate phonological processing challenges. Other moderators were also explored to explain differences in morphological intervention effects. These findings suggest students with literacy difficulties would benefit from morphological instruction.

from the Annals of Dyslexia