Blog Archives

Language development in preschool children born after asymmetrical intrauterine growth retardation

Intrauterine growth retardation has a negative impact on language development which is evident in preschool years. Slow postnatal head growth is correlated with poorer language outcome. Neonatal complications were negatively correlated with language comprehension and total expressive language.

from the European Journal of Pediatric Neurology

Working memory and response inhibition in children and adolescents: Age and organization issues

The aim of the present study was to examine the role of age in the organization of verbal working memory, visuospatial working memory and inhibition; specifically whether these constructs could be considered unitary or separate in children aged 7 to 12 years (n = 164) and in adolescents aged 13 to 16 years (n = 75) using a multi-group confirmatory factor analysis. Results suggested that verbal working memory, visuospatial working memory and inhibition improved from childhood to adolescence. However, improvement was not followed by a change in the organization of these components. Verbal working memory, visuospatial working memory and inhibition constituted separable but associated constructs in children and in adolescents.

from Development and Aging

Consequences of Chronic Nasal Obstruction on the Laryngeal Mucosa and Voice Quality of 4- to 12-Year-Old Children

Relevant changes in perceptual auditory and acoustic vocal analyses and in the videolaryngoscopy were detected in children with nasal obstruction. These results showed the importance of the assessment of nasal obstruction in dysphonic children.

from the Journal of Voice

Influence of Second Language Cherokee Immersion on Children’s Development of Past Tense in Their First Language, English

Metalinguistic skills may develop differently in multilingual and monolingual children. This study investigated effects of immersion in Cherokee as a second language on young children’s (4;5–6;1) skills of noticing morphological forms/patterns in English, their first language, by comparing English past tense skills on two nonword and two real-word tasks between a Cherokee immersion group (N= 10) and an English-medium comparison group (N= 13). Only past finiteness (irregular forms plus overregularizations) on a real-word sentence imitation task was significantly different, with the Cherokee group performing better. The children learning Cherokee as a second language were progressing as well as their monolingual peers on English past tense marking and in one area had developed increased attention to productive morphological patterns.

from Language Learning

Cognitive effects of language on human navigation

Language has been linked to spatial representation and behavior in humans, but the nature of this effect is debated. Here, we test whether simple verbal expressions improve 4-year-old children’s performance in a disoriented search task in a small rectangular room with a single red landmark wall. Disoriented children’s landmark-guided search for a hidden object was dramatically enhanced when the experimenter used certain verbal expressions to designate the landmark during the hiding event. Both a spatial expression (“I’m hiding the sticker at the red/white wall”) and a non-spatial but task-relevant expression (“The red/white wall can help you get the sticker”) enhanced children’s search, relative to uncued controls. By contrast, a verbal expression that drew attention to the landmark in a task-irrelevant manner (“Look at this pretty red/white wall”) produced no such enhancement. These findings provide further evidence that language changes spatial behavior in children and illuminate one mechanism through which language exerts its effect: by helping children understand the relevance of landmarks for encoding locations.

from Cognition

The development of multisensory speech perception continues into the late childhood years

Observing a speaker’s articulations substantially improves the intelligibility of spoken speech, especially under noisy listening conditions. This multisensory integration of speech inputs is crucial to effective communication. Appropriate development of this ability has major implications for children in classroom and social settings, and deficits in it have been linked to a number of neurodevelopmental disorders, especially autism. It is clear from structural imaging studies that there is a prolonged maturational course within regions of the perisylvian cortex that persists into late childhood, and these regions have been firmly established as being crucial to speech and language functions. Given this protracted maturational timeframe, we reasoned that multisensory speech processing might well show a similarly protracted developmental course. Previous work in adults has shown that audiovisual enhancement in word recognition is most apparent within a restricted range of signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). Here, we investigated when these properties emerge during childhood by testing multisensory speech recognition abilities in typically developing children aged between 5 and 14 years, and comparing them with those of adults. By parametrically varying SNRs, we found that children benefited significantly less from observing visual articulations, displaying considerably less audiovisual enhancement. The findings suggest that improvement in the ability to recognize speech-in-noise and in audiovisual integration during speech perception continues quite late into the childhood years. The implication is that a considerable amount of multisensory learning remains to be achieved during the later schooling years, and that explicit efforts to accommodate this learning may well be warranted.

from the European Journal of Neuroscience

Brain imaging correlates of verbal working memory in children following traumatic brain injury

Neural correlates of working memory (WM) based on the Sternberg Item Recognition Task (SIRT) were assessed in 40 children with moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) compared to 41 demographically-comparable children with orthopedic injury (OI). Multiple magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods assessed structural and functional brain correlates of WM, including volumetric and cortical thickness measures on all children; functional MRI (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were performed on a subset of children. Confirming previous findings, children with TBI had decreased cortical thickness and volume as compared to the OI group. Although the findings did not confirm the predicted relation of decreased frontal lobe cortical thickness and volume to SIRT performance, left parietal volume was negatively related to reaction time (RT). In contrast, cortical thickness was positively related to SIRT accuracy and RT in the OI group, particularly in aspects of the frontal and parietal lobes, but these relationships were less robust in the TBI group. We attribute these findings to disrupted fronto-parietal functioning in attention and WM. fMRI results from a subsample demonstrated fronto-temporal activation in the OI group, and parietal activation in the TBI group, and DTI findings reflected multiple differences in white matter tracts that engage fronto-parietal networks. Diminished white matter integrity of the frontal lobes and cingulum bundle as measured by DTI was associated with longer RT on the SIRT. Across modalities, the cingulate emerged as a common structure related to performance after TBI. These results are discussed in terms of how different imaging modalities tap different types of pathologic correlates of brain injury and their relationship with WM.

from the International Journal of Psychophysiology

Narrative Skills in Swedish Children with Language Impairment

This study investigated the development of narrative skills in Swedish children with language impairment between age 5 and age 10. Seventeen children with LI and two control groups of age peers with typical development participated in a picture elicited story telling task. Analyses included measures of story content, cohesion and grammar. Our subjects showed development in different areas from age 5 to 10, but they did not perform at the level of the controls at age 10 on number of different verbs used and percent grammatically correct C-units. We conclude that preschool children with LI develop in their narrative skills over time, but not to the level of their age-peers at age 10.

from the Journal of Communication Disorders

Children with hearing impairment – Living with cochlear implants or hearing aids

Children with cochlear implants and children with hearing aids have, in some aspects, equally good functioning in everyday life situations. However, certain differences were found in dimensions of functioning, regarding neck and shoulder pain, usage of aids and sign language, and hearing problems in some activities.

from the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology

The contribution of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to the presurgical assessment of language function in children

Before performing neurosurgery, an exhaustive presurgical assessment is required, usually including an investigation of language cerebral lateralization. Among the available procedures, the intracarotid amobarbital test (IAT) was formerly the most widely used. However, this procedure has many limitations: it is invasive and potentially traumatic, especially for children. To overcome these limitations, neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have been used. Again, these methods are difficult to use with children, who must remain motionless during data acquisition. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a noninvasive functional imaging technique that is easily applied to pediatric and cognitively limited patients. It has been used recently in epileptic children for presurgical assessment of expressive and receptive language brain lateralization. The aim of this review is to present the contribution of fNIRS to the presurgical assessment of language function in children with neurological diseases.

from Brain and Language

Postural control and automaticity in dyslexic children: The relationship between visual information and body sway

Difficulty with literacy acquisition is only one of the symptoms of developmental dyslexia. Dyslexic children also show poor motor coordination and postural control. Those problems could be associated with automaticity, i.e., difficulty in performing a task without dispending a fair amount of conscious efforts. If this is the case, dyslexic children would show difficulties in using “unperceived” sensory cues to control body sway. Therefore, the aim of the study was to examine postural control performance and the coupling between visual information and body sway in dyslexic children. Ten dyslexic children and 10 non-dyslexic children stood upright inside a moving room that remained stationary or oscillated back and forward at frequencies of 0.2 or 0.5 Hz. Body sway magnitude and the relationship between the room’s movement and body sway were examined. The results indicated that dyslexic children oscillated more than non-dyslexic children in both stationary and oscillating conditions. Visual manipulation induced body sway in all children but the coupling between visual information and body sway was weaker and more variable in dyslexic children. Based upon these results, we can suggest that dyslexic children use visual information to postural control with the same underlying processes as non-dyslexic children; however, dyslexic children show poorer performance and more variability while relating visual information and motor action even in a task that does not require an active cognitive and conscious motor involvement, which may be a further evidence of automaticity problem.

from Research in Developmental Disabilities

Mandarin Chinese speech recognition by pediatric cochlear implant users

Consistent with previous studies’ findings, early implantation provided a significant advantage for profoundly deaf children. Performance for both groups was generally quite good for the relatively difficult materials and tasks, suggesting that open-set word and sentence recognition may be useful in evaluating speech performance with older pediatric CI users. Differences in disyllable recognition between Groups 1 and 2 may reflect differences in adaptation to electric stimulation. The Group 1 subjects developed speech patterns exclusively via electric stimulation, while the Group 2 subjects adapted to electric stimulation relative to previous acoustic patterns.

from the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology

Chronic suppurative otitis media in children of Luanda, Angola

Conclusion:  CSOM occurred in children with high co-morbidity. Persistent otorrhoea was usually caused by Proteus spp. or Pseudomonas, and often suggestive of either HIV or hearing impairment. In the developing countries, prompt diagnosis and treatment of CSOM would enhance the children’s linguistic and academic development.

from Acta Paediatrica

Standard-Chinese Lexical Neighborhood Test in normal-hearing young children

The results of the present study indicated that performances of Chinese word recognition were influenced by word frequency, age, and neighborhood density, with word frequency playing a major role. These results were consistent with those in other languages, supporting the application of NAM in the Chinese language. The development of Standard-Chinese version of LNT and the establishment of a database of children of 4–6 years old can provide a reliable means for spoken-word recognition test in children with hearing impairment.

from the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology

Assessing Multimodal Spoken Word-in-Sentence Recognition in Children With Normal Hearing and Children With Cochlear Implants

Conclusions: The results suggest that children’s audiovisual word-in-sentence recognition can be assessed using the materials developed for this investigation. With further development, the materials hold promise for becoming a test of multimodal sentence recognition for children with hearing loss.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research